Lessons from J. D. Salinger

“‘The mark of an immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.'”

This quote spoken by Mr. Antolini in J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has been on my mind. I think it’s a powerful statement because of course most people would agree that they would rather be a mature man. But this is arguably the more difficult path. To live humbly for a cause requires patience, persistence and the swallowing of ones pride. But before these attributes come into play, one must determine what their cause is.

This is likely the reason behind this quote’s lingering effect on my psyche: finding one’s cause or purpose. Although I am a relatively young person, my recent status as ‘college graduate’ has left me with the feeling that I should know what my cause is. I have a general direction, an area of interest but no solid plan. I feel as though I am wandering through a field of wild grass; I can see sky and horizon in all directions yet there is no path in sight. There is the odd weathervane, but each one sways in the wind so I cannot be sure of its target.

So which direction to take?

I’d like to say that I’m pursuing a job in an area I am passionate about but in reality I’m applying for various jobs in multiple areas. My direction will be chosen by whatever sticks. I just hope wherever I land, I can enjoy the view and my cause presents itself in some form along the way.

Among the lessons Holden Caufiled has taught me is the idea that complaining about the ugliness in life is the easy way out. Turning those words into actions, into a purpose is difficult but it is the only way one finds meaning.

So even though I have no solid footing at the moment, that is the goal I will pursue. Fortunately there is no shortage of ugliness in the world. I have only to find a place in which I can transform the ugly into something beautiful. Image


About AliRaeOak

Studied Environmental Science/Works in Medicine/Adores Fashion/Obsessed with music/Constant daydreamer
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