I’m finding Anthropology of an American Girl to be full of self-conscious writing, as if she’s read a lot of Hemingway and wishes to write like him. It’s still interesting, though it reeks of disillusionment. This quote from the second chapter struck me:
You’re old when you learn that needs are to be eclipsed by civility. You’re old when you join the sticky, stenchy morass of concealed neediness than is society. You’re old when you give up trying to change people because then they might want to change you too. When you’re young, needs are explicit, possibilities endless, formalities undiscovered, and proofs of allegiance direct. If only there were a way to keep the world new, where every day remains a wonder.
I was talking to a friend about how hard growing up is today, and about how the worst part is watching everybody else. It’s much easier to be disappointed in how someone else turns out than it is to be disappointed in yourself. I have trouble evaluating myself, because I flit back and forth between what I would have thought at 15 and what I think now. In some ways, I suppose I’m better, and in some ways, much, much worse.
I’d like to tell myself that we are always evolving, always turning out, but somehow, I think that the decisions we make in our twenties contribute to and solidify who we are in our forties. The fruit of a bad decision doesn’t disappear; instead, it’s effects are enlarged.
The Bible has some ideas about combating disillusionment that I’ve been tossing around…childlike faith, wise as serpents, innocent as doves, pure, unadulterated devotion… They sound like pretty concepts, but I imagine that implementing them takes a lot of discipline. In the end, they seem like effective ways to avoid jadedness but to still look at the world through wise eyes.
Some of the reason I can’t get away from evaluating myself from me at fifteen is because I’m trying to look at myself from a more uncomplicated perspective. Or was it really as uncomplicated as I imagined it?
Addendum: My friend over at Mere Ponderizations (who was the one I was talking to earlier) blogged about growing up today, too!