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"But the characteristic feature of the ridiculous age I was going… - delta_november

Nov. 16th, 2006

09:53 pm

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"But the characteristic feature of the ridiculous age I was going through -- awkward indeed but by no means infertile -- is that we do not consult our intelligence and that the most trivial attributes of other people seem to use to form an inseparable part of their personality. In a world thronged with monsters and with gods, we know little peace of mind. There is hardly a single action we perform in that phase which we would not give anything, in later life, to be able to annul. Whereas what we ought to regret is that we no longer possess the spontaneity which made us perform them. In later life we look at things in a more practical way, in full conformity with the rest of society, but adolescence is the only period in which we learn anything."

- Within a Budding Grove, Marcel Proust, translated by Moncrieff and Kilmartin, page 785.

I certainly did some silly things in my teen years that I cringe to think about. But while my failures stand out in my mind they seem to have now been forgiven and forgotten by those who knew me then. And I clearly learned a lot, while my life now is more deeply set in its ruts. Still, things are much more comfortable with fewer monsters and gods.