Coming of age
The idea that one is coming of age only as an adolescent who is moving into adulthood, seems far too limiting of a concept. Coming of age takes many forms outside of just the physical. It seems that in many ways each of us "come of age" in many different stages throughout our life. There are those who experience coming of age much younger than the rest. An example of this is the girl or boy who goes to work at a young age to help their family. These individuals are almost immediately inundated with experiences that will force upon them the concept of coming of age much quicker than most. Others are able to embrace childhood for much longer; some never wanting to leave it, ending up developing what is often referred to as a Peter Pan complex, and thus missing out on some of the personal growth and evolution associated with the different phases of coming of age.
Today’s youth are coming of age in the time of technology. The web, for example, is a place where anyone with a computer and internet access can learn, and also be exposed, to things that kids just a few generations ago would never have known or seen. What affect does this have upon the current youth who are coming of age? Can too much information push kids to grow up too fast? Will cynicism and immediate gratification be the flavor of the day for these kids as they grow? And what sort of divide is occurring between children who are being influenced by the World Wide Web, and those who have no access, or come to it late in life?
As an artist, or an artist who feels like they are constantly striving to come of age, I find the struggle to be a constant and real battle between my own self doubt and my desire to be a master. It is through these struggles that I continue to evolve, grow and continue to experience coming of age. This brings forward the notion that coming of age is a lifelong progression. From the paint stroke laid upon the canvas, to the chisel in stone that exposes the sculpture, to the programmer experiencing a new language for the first time and the child leaving home for the first day of college, all of these experiences and many more represent the ongoing process of coming of age.
Coming of age means venturing into new territory, but sometimes it seems easier to avoid change, to settle into and not budge from particular paths we’ve chosen in our lives in order to avoid uncertainty or the fear of failure. But is this way of life really any less risky? When we try to hide from failure we give up finding those passions that we truly love. By not stepping out into uncertainty we miss opportunities that can only come from trying something new. So, avoiding change and being afraid to give up what has grown comfortable comes with its own risks, the risk of settling for less and missing out on new adventures.
Coming-of-age in its many phases has brought you to our site and we’re glad you’re here. We hope you find what you are looking for and make recommendations or additions on how we may improve this coming of age site to better align it with the hopes, dreams and experiences of those who have come of age, are coming of age, or are stuck in a rut and looking for inspiration to rise up. Whatever it is, may you leave here with some amazing book suggestions, some inspiring quotes, or motivating words that may inspire you to push ahead.
From all of us at Comingofagebooks may your next coming of age experience be better than all before.