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L'Engle: On Being a Grown-Up

The deeper and richer a personality is, the more full it is of paradox and contradiction....A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming....

I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be. Because I was once a rebellious student, there is and always will be in me the student crying out for reform....

Far too many people misunderstand what putting away childish things means....When I'm with these people I....feel that if this is what it means to be a grownup, then I don't ever want to be one.

Instead of which, if I can retain a child's awareness and joy, and be fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be a grownup. I still have a long way to go.

-- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet  (HarperSanFrancisco, 1984)