A coming of age experience can happen any time during one’s life, most often when it is least expected. It is the thread that sews humanity together, a phenomenon, which is undeniable. Society tells us, it is a defining moment in a child’s life, when the world somehow becomes his or her own. Why then is “Coming of Age” simply relegated to the young? We all experience this phenomenon, from the tender age of four till the ripe old age of ninety-four.
It is not an experience based solely on chronological milestones. Coming of age is a defining moment when a person’s wide-eyed nnocence is replaced with something deeper and at times something darker and more sinister, a snapshot in life when one realized the answer rests inside us, not relying completely on God. Consequently, in that way, we are always coming of age, always-losing innocence, gaining understanding, and always discovering new truths about ourselves, emotionally, and intellectually.
Coming of age is the act of experiencing a definitive shift in one’s perspective, a greater realization of ones place in the world, and a further understanding of how personal actions and reactions are ntegrally linked. “That’s not fair” was my signature quotation as a little girl. A life full of Barbie’s, tea parties, and several rounds of Go-Fish card games was very demanding for a five year old. I could only assume the world revolved around which Barbie I wanted to be, what frilly dress I wanted to wear, and my pristine skills of winning every round of Go-Fish.
As a little princess, fairness was vital to what made me happy. When I was eight years old, the word “fair” took on a whole other meaning the day my mom and her best friend, Muffy, took my sister and me to lunch. As we at down at the table, Muffy, the mother of my best friend, Sam, hesitantly twisted the diamond protruding from her gold wedding band. We waited for our lunches in silence, my sister and I only knowing that they had “something to tell us,” but not knowing what. The silence was unbearable; waiting for something that must have no positive outcome was definitely, as I would term, unfair.
After the waitress brought our food, my mom’s voice filled the intolerable silence. Unlike her usual motherly lectures, my mom’s voice seemed Just as excruciating as the previous silence; it was uncertain, unfamiliar, and distant. My mom has always been the woman that I admire and would hope to become. The smiles and love she has given to my sister and me have been unconditional and contagious. At the moment, the slightly tilted frown and the unfulfilled eye contact was not the woman that I knew as my mother.
All I wish for was to read her mind, fgure out who she had become so that I could make everything better and change her back to the woman I see myself being one day. Muffy began with her understanding voice, a quality that she and my mother share, “Emily and Peggy, I can see the concern on your faces and we are here to tell ou that Sam has cancer. He will be undergoing surgery next week and all I ask from you is to be as understanding, mature, and as helpful as possible. I know you are both strong and that it is going to be hard for all of us. My best friend, at eight years old, has cancer. I continued to repeat this in my mind. There was no “He will be find” or “Everything will be taken car of. ” My mind was running with questions, How long has he had cancer? Will he have to undergo chemo? Will he lose all his hair? But unfair. Two years later Sam went through his third treatment. At this point we were told hat he was not going to make it and at that moment, as a young eight year old, I began to understand that life’s trials cannot be won like a game of go-fish.
I began to understand that life is not fair because I did not understand why someone so caring and loving like Sam would be put through this. I do wish that fguring these things out at such a young age would not be as tortuous as my best friend getting cancer and passing away. However, for me, maturing at that age is accepting that the world does not revolved around me. That losing in a game of go-fish is not the end of the world and to treasure every day of life.