Here is the hardest thing for many people about adulthood: Staying awake. That is, resisting the somnambulance that will grow like weeds over any state of habitual life, excepting acute crises. You have to actively invite experiences into your life that will interrupt the smallness of your story and the calcifying generalizations you make about the world based on your own private universe. Even if you’re someone who is awake and alert to politics, by your own choice or not—even then, it will be your task to be able to be surprised by your encounters with other people, to be curious and exacting in your thinking in addition to your salutary anger and your activism. But above all staying awake is, as scores of wise writers will tell you: cultivating your astonishment. It’s easy in childhood and then bludgeoned out of your system through many rituals of schooling and cultural conditioning. But astonishment is the fuel for an expansive urgency in your actions, and cultivating it is the habit that builds the possibility for joy.

-Sarah Hendren