I’ve always been fascinated by coming of age stories – when the hero of the story goes through a series of challenges that typically forces him to do things beyond his current skill level or capability.
These events will shape them into the future hero that he/she was always meant to be. The hero has always known in their heart that their life was meant for more but, until these challenges have presented themselves, they do not see a way out of their current situation. They do not yet see how their present, will eventually transform into the future that they so wish would come into being.
After struggles, hard lessons, sacrifices and triumphs, the hero comes into his/her own and begins life again, reborn and renewed. I’ve always identified with heroes like these … like most people I have always thought my life was meant for something more. I’m sure I’m not alone in this thinking, I mean who hasn’t thought about their life and not been satisfied with how it has been going thus far? Everyone wants their life to mean something – everyone wants to level up, becoming who or what they were meant to be.
Luke Skywalker, the hero of the Star Wars franchise is to me the purest example of the coming of age hero. I think that is why the Star Wars franchise has always been near and dear to my heart. I see myself in the story – a young man growing up on a small island while aspiring to be something that he did not see in his day to day… something that seemed very far fetched … a scientist, an innovator, an inventor. Fast forward today and I can honestly say that I am living the dream – the path has and is filled with challenges, I gave up many times and I’ve struggled each step of the way. I know that God walked with me and carried me through these challenges but, that does not negate the friends, family, coworkers and mentors that gave so much for me to be where I am today. But the aspiring does not stop…
The coming of age process is not wrapped up in one story, or two … many would say that the saga of Luke Skywalker took at least three movies and there have been many more books and movies that have added more to that story as well. This means that the story or saga continues… the coming of age is a continuous event. The hero does not just come OF age but rather – comes INTO his age and with it comes new challenges. No matter if you are 30, 40 or 80, there is always the process and challenge of coming into your age. Remember age has two major definitions, the length of time a person or thing has lived or existed and a distinct period of history. Maybe when we say that it is a coming of age story what we really mean is that the hero is rising up to the occasion based on the period of change he or she is currently dealing with.
In other words – keep striving, keep grinding and continue to set new expectations for yourself.
Keep coming into your age.