" Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does; otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also - if this isn’t too grand a word - our tragedy.
— The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes