Why “Coming of Age?
You will notice “coming of Age?” ends with a question mark, for a very good reason. When does a person come of age? Simply put, it is when the transition is made from childhood to adulthood.
This can garner more questions than answers, is it different for a male than a female, is it different in different cultures, what age or is it some event? We could go on and on with even more questions, but this would only create more questions.
My desire is not to create or bring into play more questions, rather answers.
This brings me to me, what I have found from my own experiences and exposures over or during my years. My number of years, you can determine for yourself as some of the events unwind and the time involved.
Contrary to what we might think, it is not the flick of a switch or a person saying “I’m an adult now.” There is much more to it than that. Some will say I never want to grow up and others will never grow up. Growing up is a process and every person sometime or other will take their knocks.
I thought when I was eighteen, I am now an adult. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that, while I thought I was an adult, I wasn’t. In years, according to our society I was an adult. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in my sixties before I began to grow up.
You may ask, “were you backward, or what?” By societies prerequisites I wasn’t. I have worked, married, had a family, did all the things normal people do. Then you may ask, what is the problem? No Problem.
Most of my life I have been, what you would say a traditional thinker, so I follow the crowd and do what any normal person will do to be accepted by society, to be a good person.
But, there was a problem, deep within my psychic, something seemed to be missing. For a while I covered it over or perhaps avoided it by working. However, I was constantly reading self-help books, I think I may have read most of them, I can’t say it did much for me. I would think, this is the answer but after a short period of time that inner gnawing would began again.
In previous posts I’ve mentioned about being a lateral thinker and explained what it entails. Now, I am very much a lateral thinker. I don’t think I ever became a critical thinker and it is easy for that to happen, if you have a feeling something is wrong. You began to critique everything to find out what is wrong. I never was overly interested in finding out what was wrong, I was more interested in finding answers, than knowing what the problem was.
I have recounted this in previous writings, but for this post I will recount again.
I was fifteen years of age on a foggy Friday afternoon in August, I was walking home and met this girl that I had attended school with the previous year in a four room school. So, she was known to me, plus the fact it was a small town and everyone knew everyone.
This was a different situation, I became acutely aware of her and my face felt as if I was blushing. It was a year later before I got a date with her and three years later we married. I experienced a euphoria within myself.
I gave my heart to Norma and she give her heart to me. We were married for forty-seven years before her passing. We had our ups and downs during our marriage, this most will say is normal.
Her final ten years was confined to a wheelchair and I was her care giver. It was during that time, hind sight being twenty- twenty vision, that I realized and to a certain point Norma realized as well, this was the best time of our marriage. It was difficult and trying on times for both of us, but it brought us closer than we had been anytime in our marriage.
After her passing, I began doing a five k walk early each morning. For me it was a time of meditation, I would journalize after I returned each morning. I called it “My Five K Walk.”
I was not sad or lonely, even though I was alone, matter of fact it was the first time alone in my life, neither was I grieving. I began to feel a strong emotion that I was not familiar with and many times would bring me to tears, it was so overwhelming. It was several years later I began to realize that this strong emotion was a connection with myself, it was a euphoria that brought me to tears.
On my five k walk I was communing or meditating with myself. I had many questions about things. I am now into my Camino journey, in earnest, for approximately one and one half years. I was questioning, in my communing, about life in general and my purpose. I had found my morning walks very exhilarating, this particular morning in July, I realized that my life had been a Merry-Go-Round. I asked, “how do I get off?” the answer came the next morning “say, I want to get off?” and the Merry-Go-Round will stop. I did.
A few mornings later, communing with myself, not quite understanding exactly what was taking place. I questioned the fact the Merry-Go-Round was still spinning.
The answer came back to me “that I was actually off the Merry-Go-Round, but my head was still spinning, because I have been on it so long, it feels as if you are still on it. In actual fact your feet is on the ground, but give it time.”
There was such an overwhelming feeling of knowing about myself and what was happening, knowledge wise, that I said to my inner self, I don’t want to know anything else, I want to live what you are showing me.
I went home, wrote in my journal what had happened and signed off, saying I have nothing more to say. I love you and good-bye.
All this may seem weird to you, I admit I did not understand, in the slightest, what was taking place. Now, nine years later, it is much clearer to me what was transpiring and how during that nine years I have actually began to grow up and in so doing, many things have been reconciled within myself.
My Camino Continues.
Seven months after signing off in my journal, I met Sandra, the euphoria I experienced with Norma I experienced with Sandra. This is over fifty years later and two different ladies, but the same experience.
Communing with myself, you know the question I was asking. Why a similar experience for me, with two different ladies and so much time difference between the two. It was a while later it came to me, the connection was with myself.
A year or so later Sandra gave me a book to read by Norman Doidge entitled “The brain that changes itself.” I became enthralled in the chapter on “love” not the sexual part but the part of the neurotransmitter and the neuromodulator. He explained the characteristics of the neuromodulator and what took place.
What I understood was when the person experienced “romantic love” there was a euphoria and now because of the advancements in technology the brain waves can be measured.
High on cocaine and romantic love, the brain waves were similar.
Because of my experience I realized the connection with myself was actually the neuromodulator activated.
I mentioned earlier that I was told, my head had to stop spinning when I got off the Merry-Go-Round. I later realized that was my growing up, the very intense emotion that I experienced during my five k walk was love, love for myself. Not a self centered, selfish love, but a love that allowed me to forgive myself, not have any expectations from myself and very little disappointments in myself. This in turn began to manifest itself in my experiences with others, easy to forgive others and very little, if any, expectations from others. The most difficult has been having no expectations from my off spring, but that also is changing.
This has been a process and has indeed been a growing experience. I have come to realize that Norma was my soulmate and Sandra is now my soulmate. My experience with Norma when I was fifteen was not understood. It was two weeks before her passing that we both understood, however at that point there was much growing to be done by me, before it was revealed what actually was happening.
Another realization, or revelation, was keeping my heart to myself. When I was fifteen or sometime later I gave my heart to Norma and she did the same for me. We let go of each other two weeks before her passing, that was when my journey began.
It was almost three years after Norma’s passing that I proposed to Sandra, I told her, “I was on a journey and I would like for her to come with me.” I also told her, “I couldn’t give her my heart and I did not want hers.” I’m sure at that time she may have thought to herself, what is he talking about or what is going on, but she was agreeable to it. We celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this month.
This time I had a much better understanding of love for myself and others, the better the understanding of myself, the better I understood human nature, after all I am a part of human nature.
Life for me has been like my physical walk on the Camino. I was walking through the Pyrenees for much of the journey. There were steep climbs to the top, but always when you reached the top, you now had to descend into a valley. My life has been ups and downs. The greatest difference over this past ten years, the hills have not been as high and the valleys not so deep.
Like my climbs and descents on the Camino, it strengthened me, the climbs used one set of muscles and the descents another set of muscles, all part of balance so I could complete the journey.
It was sixty-six years before my growing began, it could have started when I was fifteen, but no one told me, I could blame my parents for not telling me, but if I did that, I would not be taking responsibility for myself.
I have also realized, one thing we have in common is “choice” and choice brings consequences.
If I make the correct choice I receive the correct consequence and vice versa. If I blame anyone other than myself there can be no healing. Growing up in who I am is when the healing began and it continues. The journey brings peace, comfort, love and healing.
Everyone has their experiences, just as I have had mine. They are our opportunities to grow up, there are hills and valley’s. You may think some of what I have said was a bit weird, but I’m really not a weird person, just ask Sandra.