Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
have you ever thought about the concept of coming of age? most people have and many have gone through some sort of ceremony that recognizes them as an adult, or at least having reached a certain level of maturity. many cultures and religions practice this rite. debutantes, bar/bat mitzvahs, seijin no hi... these are just a few ways young adults are recognized to have come of age.
what about the rest of us who dont undergo some ceremony? does it really matter? would everyone be better off psychologically speaking if they could be recognized ceremonially to have come of age? well, it certainly wouldnt hurt and the chances are that it might improve the results of how many might lead their lives (versus their lives leading them).
i never had any such ceremony other than birthdays, which i never felt were particularly critical to assessing where i was in life- that is, until i reached my mid-twenties and then i started to pay a little more attention to how things were going and what i was accomplishing. when i was 18, i had to sign up for selective service, which means i became old enough to die for my country if that was what my government decided. however, i was still not yet old enough to legally drink alcohol (in a non-religious setting). in my state, virginia, i was also old enough to legally have consensual sex and vote. so i was a man and yet i still had limitations as to what i could and couldnt do. at 16 i became legally allowed to have a license to operate a motor vehicle, personally i didnt get mine until i was in my mid to late twenties. at 21 i finally could drink alcohol legally and yet it was anticlimactic as i felt like it was long since overdue. all these things together seem to sum up adulthood, as with them comes greater responsibilities, and yet they are broken down into three critical stages that are separated by a great deal of time.
this made me realize that the world had very little regard for my coming of age. as a classmate in high school said, " if i am going to be old enough to die for my country, i would like to have a drink first." it may seem silly to some, but considering that alcohol is undeniably an adult beverage which most children dont even like the flavor, most feel special when they are finally allowed to have their first beer (or other alcoholic beverage).
while growing up, i had jewish friends who went through their rite of passage. in high school, i knew a girl who became a debutante. some families decide to give their kids a small celebration in honor of graduating high school, others give it when they have completed college. some families dont do anything, ever. i never really went through a process that officially declared me as a man religiously or socially. my family celebrated my birthday, but it just felt like any other day, even though i was allowed to have an alcoholic beverage. personally, alcohol never made me feel like an adult and i had tried it on several occasions before. i recognize alcohol to be more ceremonial and social, not a major milestone in my life.
no thing or person ever declared a defining point where i was suddenly a man, or even an adult. i picked up responsibilities, jobs, dealt with difficult issues on my own, but never felt a defining point where i had suddenly come of age. yet somewhere along the line it happened, or did it? sure, legally i meet all of the qualifications, but does that really mean i have come of age? nothing spectacular happened to signify it.
because of various personal issues, a lot of things did not transpire in my life as even i would have anticipated. i never completed college yet i have spent 6-7 years in 4 colleges. i never lived away from home yet i have travelled on my own on several occasions. i do not own or rent my own home as i have spent all my time living with my mother or my grandparents. i am not married as a 5+ year long relationship failed and completely shook my world. i have no children. i am no longer employed due to several problems including depression, scratched cornea with complications, and 2 back surgeries also with complications. not to mention 2 years ago, i moved again and i am still with my mother even though i live on a separate floor in what is still considered my grandparents' house even though they no longer live here. it feels a little like an apartment, but i have no bathroom nor kitchen on my floor, nor can i access the outside from my floor although i have a pretty sweet fireplace next to my bed which ive never had before.
i have no way of affording things on my own financially and have to rely on the sometimes financially available kindness of my mother. i owe her a great deal. in some ways i feel like i am less of an adult now than i was in my twenties since i was more self-sufficient then and fairly dependent now.
i work hard on a dream of becoming a dj and producer. most of my work has never seen any monetary compensation. i have done these things for years and even more earnestly in recent years. i dj on the radio, though usually it is online only. i have a modest discography that has seen substantial popularity via online downloads, yet not a soul has purchased any of them. i had a created a record label which folded after about a year when the hosting company folded and i lacked finances to rebuild something that had no fiscal motion. i would like to resurrect that label again.
so have i come of age? yes, somewhere in time i suppose i did and yet i never realized it. like love, it is hard to define as it is more conceptual than material. imaginably if i had gone through some traditional ceremony to announce my coming of age, i might have felt different psychologically, but that didnt happen and anything past that act is simply speculation, even if signs indicated that does make a difference in a person's life.
in the mean time, i live at home, with family, single, broke, and without regular income from an employer. regardless, i continue to try to make things work on my own in the best way i know how. this year, i turn 34 on march 28th.