“He knew, though, that the prize of his intactness was incompleteness”

Excerpt from Tender is the Night, F. S. Fitzgerald, 1934. This edition: Penguin Classics, 2010, p. 125. Photo: J. Zarins, 2022

I don’t believe that we ever become complete, or finished, or actually ever grow up. At least I believe that people who do, are unhappy, boring, and unhealthy for themselves and their surroundings. This is why, like Peter Pan and Pippi Longstocking, I’ve made it my life’s call to never grow up.

But I do like the idea suggested by F. Scott Fitzgerald here, that physical and emotional intactness (or, perhaps, innocence) equates to an incompleteness. It is reassuring to think of scars and blemishes as something that has shaped and formed me into the current me, and completed me. And it’s flattering to think that a young Dick Diver – Fitzgerald’s handsome, intelligent, lucky and successful character – might be jealous of me.

Goodness knows I’m grateful for the damage and hurt I’ve experienced it, and that I’ve used it for my betterment and fulfilment. And, hopefully, despite all that’s happened, I’m still no Dick.

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