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Published: Tuesday 29th of October 2013
Our life follows a particular pattern through a few stages. We started out in our mother's womb. After about nine months, we come out of our mother's protection into the vast, open world. Although we are more exposed, we are still under our parent's protection. After that, we go into the stage of childhood that continues up until we become teenagers and ultimately adults. When we do become adults, we remain in this stage up until death.
The term “coming of age” is used to signify the moment when we transition from being a teenager into an adult. The line that separates teenager from adult varies, if not blurred, from one culture to another. It also depends on the religious beliefs that a particular community holds. Usually, one is considered an adult when he or she is eighteen years old, according to the law in many countries. For example, in the United States, coming of age refers to the years just before the onset of teenage. This age is around adolescence. Coming of age usually comes together with changes, both psychological and physiological. Then, he or she who came of age will be recognized as a mature person with equal rights and responsibilities to those of an adult.
In certain societies or religion, the transition from childhood to adulthood is celebrated in the form of ceremonies. In such events, there are certain rituals or rites of passage to signify that the celebrants as adults who have the right to marry, have a family, hold positions in the society and own property. With this ceremony, the society will change its view toward the young ones who recently became adults. Such change includes the introduction of expectations to them, not to mention the responsibilities they will have to bear for themselves. In some communities, when one becomes an adult, he or she is expected to move out of their parent’s home and live elsewhere independently. In other societies, a person who recently became an adult is expected to take up some leadership roles. These roles can be in the form of becoming the family’s spokesperson, running family businesses, teaching young children, or even trying for some prominent leadership role in the society.
Although going into adulthood is a common thing in life, many people face a plethora of challenges during and after the transition. Many are surprised by the very fact that they need to start a life as adults, which can mean living separately from their parents. They often get caught off-guard. Often, the transition into adulthood happens so quickly that many people are not prepared for it. They are thrown into society and are told very little of how to live like an adult while setting certain expectations for them to follow. Consequently, those people are often left scrambling to find their own identity and status in the society. To make matters worse, they may even come under pressure from their peers, relatives, or even the society that demand them to stop depending on their parents, create and follow their own paths, and live independently in general. However, one can often see this as harsh and unreasonable. This is because so many factors should be taken into consideration when one determines how well young adults can fare on their own. While education is not a question in most communities, young adults can still be jobless due to the lack of experience. They may study a lot, but they may learn nothing. They may also not be psychologically ready. Either way, they still need support from everyone around them to prepare them well for the future challenges of adulthood. Human’s psychological growth does not develop overnight. One cannot expect a teenager to be able to think like an adult overnight. They need time to adjust to the new life. Throwing them into the midst of things immediately and expecting them to know their way around the society is unrealistic. Moreover, doing so will result in the young adults falling victim to depression. They may make wrong decisions that will undoubtedly result in having their lives tarnished and filled with struggles that could have been easily prevented if they had a little more guidance before they get to decide on their own.
Coming of age is a challenging stage in everyone's life. We should all approach it with extreme caution and with strategies that can ensure that the young adults can have a bright future. At this stage, it is wisest to take things one step at a time to ensure that the young adult's life proceeds as smoothly as possible. Otherwise, if rushed, decisions here might just be the thing that destroys their lives and ultimately leads them down a path of sorrow and regrets.