Clarification needed of some phrases

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Nora M.

New member
Feb 27, 2021
Hello everybody,

I have some phrases which confused me. I need to know what do they exactly mean?

I see no path from where I
am to those alternatives, no future in which I go to medical
school or become a good enough poet. (No doubt,
dear reader, you are wishing I were more of one.) Even
if I did, it would not be the life that I imagined at seventeen.

What does more of one mean?

The idea of vocation that shaped my
planning lends the stylized simplicity of a thought experiment
to an actual life. The average forty- year- old has had
thirteen jobs and is looking to move at any time.2 Her
tree has more branches, a fractal intricacy inherited by
the lives she has not lived. Mine is conveniently pruned.
Three branches— poet, physician, philosopher— one living,
two dead, a singular, reductive instance of a fact in
any human life: the fact of missing out.

What is stylized simplicity?


Now there was something that could be everything,
I thought: kids. From the moment they’re born,
until the time is right for them to gather around
you for your final word, and every milestone in between.
But for them to be everything, they would
also have to be everything:
no more restaurants,
Broadway plays, movies, museums, art galleries, or
any of the other countless activities the city made
possible. Not that that was an insurmountable
problem for me, given how little I’d indulged in
them in the past. But they lived in me as options,
and options are important.

What does the writer suggest by saying (
But for them to be everything, they would
also have to be everything) I'm confused.


How to assuage regret
about things you should not have done, or that you
hoped would not occur, when they have turned out as
you had reason to believe they would
? What if there is
no pleasant surprise? Does anything else subtract from
the ledger of disconten

(They would) is so confusing to me here. Would you please explain it? also ledger of discontent.

Thank you!


Active member
Sep 23, 2020
1. I would say this means, "readers, don't you wish there was more than one of me".

2. Maybe it means something like deciding on a single vocation or career is a very simple way of thinking, when in fact we will have multiple jobs or careers throughout our lives.

3. Kids basically consume your whole life from the moment they are born until you die. If you have kids you can probably understand this feeling!

4. It is hard to know for sure who 'they' is referring to without seeing the preceding sentences. Maybe they are talking about the kids?

Ledger is used in accounting to which credits and debits are written down and calculated. The writer is saying there is a ledger for discontent. You could say there is a ledger of happiness where if good or happy things happen then they will be added to the ledger.

I hope this helps. Unfortunately I am not so good at explaining more literary texts and haven't had to do so since high school!
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