1) Some idiot drive-by posting in the Making Light comments reminded me once again how grateful I am to hang out with geeks. In my social circles, if I said, "I will not always be in my twenties, and I may not always be this thin," people would hear this as a statement of obvious and somewhat boring fact, and they would wait for me to get to the interesting bit, if indeed there was one. They would not hear it as mourning for some great tragedy. This is a good, good, reasonable, good thing.
2) I can't decide whether I'm in mild disagreement or violent agreement with matociquala here. She's talking about using everything up in your story, not trying to save anything for the swim back, to take the "Gattaca" approach to writing, and I can't decide whether my reaction is "yes but" or "yes and." What I'm talking around here is: I really, really like it when I have the sense that other interesting things are going on in the world of the book. That the author is telling this story because it's an interesting story, not because it's the only interesting story available. Even in an epic-sized work -- perhaps especially in an epic-sized work -- I want the sense of things going on just off the map, just out of the corner of our eye, that are equally interesting. I don't want pointless futurism, like the person who suggested that my characters in a far-future SF story shouldn't eat salads because it would be more SFnal if they had vitamin pills. (Salads are good. I like salads.) But I do want other things to be moving and shaking beyond my movers and shakers. Sometimes the author can go back and tell those stories, too. Sometimes they'll remain forever out of our reach. But I want them to exist, and if the author does tell those stories, too, I want them to imply additional stories.
Regardless of where this falls in regard to Bear's using-stuff-up idea, I think this is Anti-Mary-Sueism. A Sue is the most beautiful, the most brilliant, the most fascinating. I'm good with someone who is "merely" beautiful, brilliant, and/or fascinating; it's okay if other people are, too.
Oh, crud. This is just my dislike of total orderings rearing its head again. Well, never mind, then; as you were.