A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;  a plain and simple life is a full life.

– Solomon

My cousin and I have been discussing the character in the old classic The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  She read the book in her sophomore year.  I read it when my daughter was  in high school.  I thought it was rude with all that talk about sex, drugs, and prostitution but I saw that it’s better someone tells her than I.  Holden Caulfield is his name. He talks to his sister Phoebe that he wants to be the catcher in the rye, taking care of the children from falling off  the cliff.  Holden seems to be angry and you get a sense from his narration that something catastrophic happened to him… but he doesn’t want to talk about his childhood.  He just wanted to keep the children safe. Safe from what?  Safe from life?


What is beautiful about literature and art in general is that you can give the meaning you want.   The writer usually write with an idea in mind but I, the reader, can read it as I see it.  Every character is important for they do build up the story. The book made me realize that I needed to identify my feelings and disciplined myself to follow my thoughts.  I also found out that my emotions are important  and that someone from Philadelphia understood me.  (The book was written before I was born).

I understood that even though I have felt so many times like I was on the outside looking in, I did matter. Through this process I realized that growing up is hard.  I needed to recognize and set my personal boundaries, my values, and my belief.  Therefore I am really not on the outside looking in… I’m standing within my own boundary looking out.  This made me feel secure, unafraid that the grass looks green on the other side. In reality my neighbor looks across the street and thinks my yard is greener anyway… lol.

We do waste so much time positioning ourselves for others to see when in truth it’s really how we see ourselves that matters. Still we plant more flowers, manicure the yard, put more fertilizer on the grass and still unsatisfied.   It’s like complete confusions… Eriksson calls this “Identity Crisis”…. When a young adult begins to explore we pull the rein and make her lose her step and become angry woman.

Sometimes like Holden we are frozen in the past. So afraid that your child might fall off the cliff so you pull the rein tight so they can’t breathe and interrupt her identity achievement.

A young adult goes through identity achievement by exploring different identities and make a commitment to one.  We need to let her emerge as unique unification of what is irreversibly given – her body, her temperament, giftedness and vulnerability…her acquired ideals… finding her values, meeting her mentors, making friends and her first love.  John Eldredge says finding  “her glory”.  It’s like coming home for the very first time.   [/restrict]