Maybe, she thought as she walked, Brian McBrian was onto something important. Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures.
This quotation, from chapter 24, demonstrates how much Tibby has changed this summer, particularly in her newfound openness to learning things from unexpected people. Before Tibby met Bailey, she thought she had her worldview all sorted out. There were lots of losers in the world, and it was her duty to hold them up for ridicule. Tibby offered judgments liberally, certain that she was in a position to look down on those around her. Bailey, however, shows her how wrong she is to assume that other people have nothing valuable to offer her. Bailey befriends people quickly and easily, warming to people in a way that Tibby finds confusing. She teaches Tibby how to live in a way that is accepting and compassionate. Tibby’s whole world is turned upside down by Bailey. Before, she thought she had all the answers. Now, she knows she has a lot to learn and that important lessons can come from unlikely sources. Brian McBrian, who Tibby had pegged as a pathetic loser because he loves video games, winds up offering Tibby a kind of wisdom. Tibby had thought happiness depended on big things, but Brian, who is so happy whenever he gets to a new level of the game, shows her that small things can lead to happiness too. Tibby’s new perspective helps her slow down and enjoy life, with a greater understanding of what’s truly important.