Bluh. I dunno.
I guess that it's wrong to cling to old ideals?
I think I put a lot of emphasis on that.
We have a world that is in shift, and a lot of characters to reflect it. Nicky is entirely characterized to cling to his rapidly fading childhood, wanting to remain young forever, to the point of outright denial and isolating himself from others.
I have another character who created huge strides in gender roles, but still refuses to see the world any differently than where she first started, just as angry and annoyed. She has a long life too, so she has seen a good deal of progress, but she can't let go of old wounds.
There is Nicky's grandmother. She is a more subtle example, and it's really mostly in her backstory, what with how she handled herself, and her original construct of being convinced the younger generation was all degenerates.
You have a lot of characters who had bad pasts, and some people just can't get over that. One character is a complete racist because of something that happened when he was a kid, and he simply won't let it go. Granted, what happened to him was definitely a tragedy, but it's part of the whole stagnancy-is-bad.
Of course, it is ambiguous. After all, a reformed murderer is still a murderer, and there are a lot of questions raised by that. At least, there is to me.
You even have a character who is a victim of being prejudiced against, being a gypsy, but she herself refuses to see certain people any differently.
I guess in the end, it's all about being open minded.
That's theme number 1.
Theme number 2 is about what the meaning of life is.
With it being that Life is one gigantic fucking story.
So, I try to do a lot of world building. In the school that only shows up briefly, there will be a mention of a bit of a coup. It does not contribute to the main story, but contributes to this idea of everyone going through their own story arc.
Another example will be much later where two kids who can't speak the same language join in for the last arc, and then leave. They don't contribute much, but they aren't there to. They are there to show the intersecting world. Plus, I find the idea of two kids from the 90s in some random fantasy world hilarious, because it's the exact type of stereotype one would expect.
And of course, the framing device is a dude telling the story, just to make it a tad more obvious.