Saturday, April 7, 2007

4/17/06 - the day I left home for the first time. I would return for a few days to gather my things, but this is the day I count from. This was the start of my coming into my own. 2 weeks later I would become a man by telling my family I was leaving their Church.

The anniversary isn't here yet, but I've been reliving the events of the last year. This was the time period where things were so tense in the house you could feel the electricity in the air. My brother was kicked out of school, and I was apparantly setting a bad example by not going to church w/ the family. The Memorial of the death of Jesus Christ rather much marks the beginning of the whole chain of events. That happened this week of last year.
Anyway, this whole set of events got me thinking about a very complex question: what makes someone an adult? Or, in my case, what makes someone a man?

Our society seems to have defined this in terms of sex, but I think that has very little to do with it. A man could very well be impotent (from age or disease). Likewise, even young boys have the physical capacity for sex. That doesn't mean they are ready or that they are men.
Tribal customs often involved some sort of 'right of passage' or ritual to show that a boy or girl moved to adulthood. It's difficult to describe, but I went through something similar a year ago - and I look back now and realize the exact moment I was truly an adult. I already mentioned it earlier. It was the day I stood up to my father.

I remember clearly, standing in the kitchen. I had come home, and asked to talk to him. I told him then that I was leaving the house. I told him I was leaving the cult. I told him I no longer believed. I was ackward about it. In that instant I defined myself apart from my parents and became an individual. It's difficult to describe the feelings and change that came to me that day, but it made me realize some things.

Not every person over 21 or 18 is an adult - and there are adults that are younger than those ages as well. To be an adult is many things, and I've yet to figure out how to explain it all. Some people live their entire lives as children - and believe me, I've met a few.

An adult accepts responsibility for their actions.An adult can empathize with others.An adult is independent.An adult takes responsibility for what they do or don't believe.

If a person is in their 30s, and has simply reached whatever point they are in life by doing nothing other than following their parents - they are not an adult. This is not about rebellion - you could do every last detail that your parents wanted and be an adult. The question is - did you choose or did you let your parents choose? And that I think is how I reached current definition for an adult:

An adult is a person that makes their own choices and accepts the consequences of those choices.

In any case, I owe a debt of thanks to everyone that helped along the way - you know who you are.