Tag Archives: growing up

Hit the books, they don’t hit back

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Sometimes re-reading a book that you knew when you were fourteen is equivalent to stepping into an entirely new book. When you’re young and sheltered, you can’t possibly understand the plight of others; you’re much more concerned with other pressing matters, such as confidently chatting with your crush in the hallways, or completing your study guide for Global History. Though some books we were subjected to actually are dry and inconsequential, others provide an eye-opening experience if revisited with our adult insight. Undoubtedly, we all know more about the human experience–our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies–than we did in the ninth grade. Forty pages into Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I noticed powerful words, phrases, and sections that my young mind deemed boring and irrelevant. I can’t wait to dissect more of the work I previously thought was “okay” and “too long.” Exposure to Southern mentality has peaked my interest in this novel, but the views on other topics also transcend to our contemporary lives and interests.

On southern towns: “People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.”

On reading: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

On summer: “Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”

On girls: “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagine things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with.”

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Where will you be?

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If you could be any place in the world right now, where would you be? That’s a fairly easy question to answer: most of us would say right here. Why—because we like to be right, and if we admitted anywhere else, then we would have done something dreadfully wrong to not get what we want. Others would say that staying put was the most practical choice, even if the town we live in can’t provide us the same adventure it did as wide-eyed 18-year-olds, or for the first time we pranced around the city’s streets six years ago. One day, I will find myself in a new place with new people, and I find that only semi-comforting. I’d really just like to handpick individual people from my past and place them on an island to eat breakfast sandwiches and talk about great things, but that would be selfish.

The question I’m trying to land on is this: Is there anyone you’ve met that you would want to share your whole life with? The harder question to answer as we grow older: If you could have your own life and tag around in someone else’s life, whom would you choose? And would you be happy there? Do you just want a similar life that parallels theirs in terms of awesome? Or if you want to be around this person, would you one day sacrifice the life you have to fit those two together? I might be the only person that thinks of the gravity of these things.

I’ve been thinking about home a lot recently. Not the conventional meaning: the house I share with my roommates or even the home I grew up in, now my parents’ house, I guess. For most of us kids in our twenties, home has become something we constructed as we moved out of dorms, graduated college, and freely chose who we would tell our stories to when we walk in the door. The longer we spend out of our homes, the more distant they become. You can never step into the same river twice, and thus our past homes become something we preserve in our memories. The concept of home becomes this transient place, and our own happiness depends on our willingness to build our happiness with those we choose to be around. But, no pressure though.

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