Dear Papa: I’m standing on the precipice of my 30s and I’m about to embark on a career change. I know in my heart that I’m doing the right thing, but there are moments when I worry that I’ve waited too long and that I’m about to open up a huge chasm between my friends and myself. Should I stay with the herd, or should I blaze my own trail?
—Out in the Field in Olney
Dear Olney: My God! What sort of man could you possibly be? At 30 you are afraid to cast off? At 17 I was driving an ambulance through a war zone and you, nearly twice that age, need help deciding between an accounting job and barista work? Or — I see. Scott, you old dog. The movie! Of course it’s trash. The book was good enough, but could you rest on your laurels any longer? Or on my laurels, for that matter? Yes, please, become an accountant. At least then you will be giving something back to those rich bastards you’ve bled dry for so long.
Dear Papa: How do I reconcile my youthful post-grad enthusiasm to the banalities and disappointments of adult life?
—Malaise in Malvern
Dear Malaise: The joy of youth is supposed to transform into the passion of life, not be shot down into nothingness. Is someone trying to put you down? There is a thing that follows youth — though you are still young, most definitely — but it is not “adult life.” It is just life with the power to make your own decisions, move to new places, not stare at your navel like some kind of monk. And the sadnesses you cannot avoid must turn into triumphs. Go talk to Stein. I’m sure she’ll have something to say on the matter.