Much biography of exceptional people is built around the image of a quest, a journey through a timeless landscape toward an end that is specific, even though it is not fully known. The pursuit of a quest is a pilgrim’s progress in which it is essential to resist the transitory contentment of attractive way stations and side roads. […] The model of an ordinary successful life that is held up for young people is one of early decision and commitment… Ambition, we imply, should be focused, and young people worry about whether they are defining their goals and making the right decisions early enough to get on track.These assumptions have not been valid for many of history’s most creative people, and they are increasingly inappropriate today.

from Mary Catherine Bateson, Composing a Life.

(via Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, a book Emily suggested I pick up asap.)