REMEMBER YOUR FIRST COMING OF AGE? That time that’s pretty much filled with excitement and terror and rites of passage. Remember puberty, your voice finally changing, and all those Firsts?
In a feeble attempt to establish credibility, let me point out that I have a degree in sociology with a focus on adolescence, and 30 or so years of working with teenagers. I also have 44 years of experience trying to realize that I’m not a teenager anymore.
One of my old textbooks, Arnold van Gennep’s book, The Rites of Passage, he explains, “I propose to call the rites of separation from a previous world, preliminal rites; those executed during the transitional stage liminal (or threshold rites); and the ceremonies of incorporation into the new world postliminal rites.”
For example, around 14 or so, we begin to long ardently for independence—our own transportation—to come and go as we please. Call this “the rite of separation from a previous world.”
None to soon we get a driver’s manual, probably the most diligently studied textbook in school history and we take Driver’s Ed: “transitional stage liminal (or threshold rites).”
Finally the day comes that we get our license and Dad hands us the keys: “the ceremonies of incorporation into the new world postliminal rites.”
If you’re a faithful reader of About Pops, you know that one of my favorite story genres is bildungsroman (coming-of-age stories). You also know that I like to talk about the age of nearing retirement as my second-coming-age. If you’re bored and want to read more about that, here are links to a couple of posts I’ve made on the subject.
While I am not yet retired, and in fact, I can’t even see retirement from where I am, still I can see I’m in the that preliminal rites stage of separation from a previous world.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a great job and I get to work with some amazingly creative and energetic young adults, but I do look forward to the weekends and Monday morning often comes to soon. Maybe it’s Nature’s way of preparing me for the time when I will not get up and go to work M-F. Maybe I’m entering the threshold rites stage.
Last Friday morning I was going through the morning ritual: make my toast for peanut butter and strawberry fruit-only spread, start the coffee, take my daily tablespoon of olive oil, and so on.
I commented to My Amazing-Missus, “I LOVE flippin’ the F.”
“I beg your pardon?” she lovingly replied.
All of my peers these days take a cocktail of pills: baby aspirin, fish oil capsule, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, and assorted other pills for heart health, arthritis, etc. We all put them in a little box divided by the days of the week. On the lid of each section is the letter of the appropriate day. When I get to flip the lid on the F I know I get to wear jeans to work and that the weekend looms.
The second-coming-of-age isn’t as exciting as the first, but it is something. Someday instead of getting a driver’s license I’ll get a metaphorical Gold Watch. I wonder if after the “ceremony” it will be as fun to flip the S, the M, the T, the W, the other T, and the other S has it has been to flip the F?