I have been thinking a bit more about it, and although everything I said in my previous post was indeed true, I think there is more to it. Though it's clear I'm not made of tough enough stuff to withstand the world Dora lived in, I'm not sure she wouldn't wilt in my world as well.
I'm usually the first person to start rolling my eyes whenever anyway waxes nostalgic about the "good old days," but there is something to having a simpler way of life. Sure, Dora worked her ass off, and lived in a weirdly gender stratified world, and had little for outside amusement, but she was also never alone. She probably never felt that she was letting down everyone she'd ever met by not having both a beautiful family and a glamorous career (or at least one or the other). Dora knew what was expected of her. While there is no way for me to know that she didn't suffer from crises of self-awareness and searches for a faith that never comes, there is no indication in the first year of her journal that she has.
While it is true that we are, in many ways, a nation of spoiled whiners compared to previous generations, and while it is true that, again compared to previous generations, we have it almost laughably easy (or at least the middle class and up do), it is also true that we live bizarrely complicated, fragmented existances. We are both blessed with choices and damned by them. And that is a little bit of what has me in such a state recently. I'm questioning everything: my "career," my relationship, my own self-image. While I still remain sure she was twice the woman I can ever hope to be, I'm also a bit jealous of Dora for not having those questions, or at least not having the time or inclination to dwell on them.