Hello 2023

Are you the same person as you have always been? I squirm when I read about some of my ethos from my teenage days.How righteous and naïve I could be.It is hard not to form an opinion about anything that happens right in front of our eyes. Back then I could be so righteous and opinionated but then it was also easy to find joy in writing up script for sketches and plays and participating in  school activities. Life might be simple then. If I am truthful about myself, I am changing all the time. Quite often I no longer really know what I think about anything but I know what I want. I also know that you do not necessarily get what you want but you must always go for it. I try not to label anything and just let things be. Very often our mind reconstruct what we see what we hear, we can never be fully certain about what we see and what we hear.

As we ushered into 2023, I read Beautiful World , Where are you by Sally Rooney. It had taken me more than a week to finish reading it primarily because I had been rather distracted and busy with work in December.

I wanted to read something smart and insightful about modern living. I had enjoyed the young author’s first two novels Normal People and Conversations with friends thus I was looking forward to reading her third book. I was attracted to its title. ‘The book takes its title from a poem of Friedrich Schiller’s praising a mythic past when contact with the divine was part of daily life.’ -Caleb Crain, Review: Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You – the Atlantic.com

The story centres around Eileen, Alice, Felix and Simon.

Eileen Lydon, 29 years old and she has just broken up with Aidan Lavin with whom she had cohabited for three years. haHer father manages a farm in County Galway and her mother Mary is a Geography teacher. She has one elder sister, Lola, who had been sturdy, brave, mischievous as a child unlike Eileen who had been anxious and often ill. At eighteen, Eileen went to the university in Dublin to study English. There she met Alice Kellerher with whom she continues to stay in contact. Eileen also stays in contact with her childhood neighbour Simon Costigan who is five years older than her. Alice is now a successful novelist.She signed an American book deal for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars when she was twenty-four years old. She has also won a lucrative literary award. She moves back to Dublin from New York after she has suffered a nervous breakdown. Via a dating app, she meets Felix , who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. She goes to Rome for her book tour and Felix agrees to accompany her.

Eileen works at a literary magazine. Simon works as a political consultant for high minded left wing politicians. In the story, Simon and Eileen renew a romance that started almost a decade earlier. Simon is gorgeous, moral and wired with Catholic guilt.

He remembered when she was born, the Lydons’ new baby, the first time he was allowed to see her, the red wrinkled face more like an old creature than something new, baby Eileen, and his parents said, he was always asking for a sister after that, not just any sibling, a sister, like what Lola had. She remembered him too, the other boy who went to a different school, lively, intelligent, with those strange seizures he suffered from, an object of sympathy among the adults which made him, though he was beautiful child, somehow freakish. Her mother always saying how lovely his manners were, a little gentleman. And she was the adolescent girl he remembered ,thin and freckled, standing at the kitchen counter with her legs twisted one around the other, fifteen , always frowning. Speaking not all all or suddenly and too much, her bad tempers, her friendlessness. And those frank looks she turned on him, pink in the face and almost cross. ‘

Beautiful World, Where are you is a coming-of- age story. Through their emails exchange Alice and Eileen update each other on their lives and insights as they figure things out. The story is about the millennials trying to making sense of the world and find their place in it.

Sally Rooney is a prolific writer. Her writing is stylish and her sentences are impeccable. Her prose is brilliant in showing the aches and emotional difficulties her characters are going through.

As we know, there are uncertainties in life, much of our lives are determined by external forces and circumstances. Humanity does not change much. No matter what era one belongs to, life can be challenging, messy and complicated but despite its ups and downs, you will experience beauty if you keep your mind and heart open.

It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye‘ –The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint- Exupéry translated from Le Petit Prince by T.V.F.Cuffe


4 thoughts on “Hello 2023

  1. It’s not easy esp what I have gone through … but will try to maintain an open heart and open mind


    1. Hey Cherie, It takes courage and strength to come through what you have experienced. Try to live in the present. Brighter days ahead x


  2. “Humanity does not change much. No matter what era one belongs to…”

    I love this saying. Because as I read Marcus Aurelius’s journal, Meditations, I realised that the struggles he had millennia ago are the same ones we face today. All this tech and advancement doesn’t change human nature, in that all of us feel pain, fear, doubt, joy, and hope. Bill Gates feels them, I’m sure, and so too will a random stranger from the roadside in Malaysia. It reminds me that I don’t need to constantly seek something. Life is life.

    And like you said, I shall strive to keep my mind and heart open.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stuart, Thanks much for stopping by. Yes we have always struggled with the same emotions and pains, that is what being human means. It is what it is.


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