Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

In Praise of Youth

Yes, I'm technically part of this demographic, at least when it comes to professional spheres. But I'm not so much tooting my own horn here, as staring awestruck and my brilliant, whip-smart, talented, super-accomplished peers. Who also happen to be my colleagues.

There are the people who have doctoral degrees. The ones who know five languages and are working on their sixth and seventh. The ones who know everyone, the ones who have lived everywhere. All of these people are still in their twenties.

There's the girl who runs a well-known review and cultural institution, and is now starting her own publishing house.

There's the girl who's already been published five times over, volunteers for two journals, and works for a publishing house on the side.

There's the guy who is well-established in a literary agency in New York City, and still manages to get his own brilliant work published.

People sometimes tell me how much I impress them. How wonderful my enthusiasm is. How doggedly I seem to work. How much they love my fresh ideas. I'll accept the compliments, of course, and I thank them profusely for expressing their opinions. But there are so many people I know who do so much more.

But don't think that this is to get down on myself. On the contrary! I think it's fascinating and fantastic how much energy we can all infuse into the world. To overgeneralize a bit: if young people can create so many new and wonderful things to enrich the world, and if young people can use their natural vibrancy to inspire everyone else to do more interesting things with their lives, then everyone benefits, and the world is a better place for it.

Now, to remember this lesson when my own hair starts turning gray...