Wherever life originates, by budding and brewing, it causes disgust; for it can only sprout as it wears away. With each slippery embryo there opens a cycle, completed only by decay. The man is terrified by absurdity and death, and he is equally terrified by having been born. So the woman-mother’s figure has a dark visage. She is the Chaos from which everything originates, and where one day everything will return to.
It is awful to want to go away and to want to go nowhere.
Simone de Beauvoir, “The Second Sex - Myth” [excerpt], p. 199f.
I reached that odd point when you are no longer young, and yet you’re still not old. You become a kind of centaur: half the person you used to be, half somebody else; that point when there is more you do not care about and less and less you do - you are in no man’s land; you keep moving, but not because you will get anywhere.
I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.
In fact they made their way as adults would do, at a fairly steady speed and by the most reasonable route, with the weight on them of where they had to go and what had to be done next. They had something close in front of them, a picture in front of their eyes that came between them and the world, which was the thing most adults seemed to have.
Alice Munro, “The Love of a Good Woman”, p. 11