Rites of passage can be define very strictly too only include monumental changes in one’s life, or they can be defined loosely to include and number of “firsts” and important events.
Moving from fifth grade to sixth grade my grade school (some people divide it up into elementary school, grade school, middle school, but I don’t really understand the distinctions so when I say grade school I am referring to grades one through eight. Just to be clear.) is a building with two floors. grades one through five had classrooms only on the first floor, and grades six through eight were located on the upper floor. So until you reached sixth grade, you never even saw the second floor of the building. It was a well known fact that when you reached sixth grade your life was completely different because all your classes were now on the second floor. You were officially recognized as older and cooler than all the little kids down on the first floor.
Graduating grade school/high school obviously these are two very different events. Moving from eighth grade to high school is not nearly as great a transition as that from twelfth grade to freshman year of college, but it’s the same basic process. It’s a sight of moving up in the world. More responsibility, more independence. There is also less of a division between peers as one progresses to these later stages. My high school and little to no cliques. Everyone just seemed to coexist outside the realm of bullying and teasing. I would say the same rule applies for college so far.
These events change a person in a way that can never really be reversed. Once you cross the little rope bridge from one cliff to another, the rope bridge breaks and falls away.
Getting your driver’s license definitely a big deal. When this occurs one’s responsibilities sky rocket. When I got mine, my friends started asking me to drive them places, my parents started asking me to run errands for them. In a way getting that little plastic card gave me a whole new meaning. I could take myself places, I didn’t have to rely on my parents for rides.
18th birthday I can’t say that this was a significant change for me. At 18 sure you can now buy cigarettes and get into strip clubs, but I didn’t do any of that. I had been getting into R rated movies for years without being carded so it didn’t really effect me there either. I went to a hookah bar one night after working with a coworker just for the sake of actually being carded. I even bought lottery cards a few times and wasn’t carded then either! Like c’mon! I’m trying to exercise my new rights and privileges and you’re denying me the satisfaction!!
Some points in life are obviously more meaningful for other people. I’m sure turning 18 is life changing for some people, just not me.
The guitar lesson when everything finally clicked I have wanted to be a guitarist since I was about five probably. I got my first guitar about then. I tried to teach myself for years, but all I ever did was learn songs. I never understood the theory or reason behind the beautiful instrument. One of my best friends is an amazing guitarist, and I used to watch him in speechless awe when he played. I never understood how he did it. I started taking lessons, and at first it was frustrating because I still didn’t really “get” it. I felt like I was just memorizing patterns all over again. One day it clicked. One day something made sense and that made everything before make sense.
Some events are like reaching the top of a mountain. You’ve been hiking for hours and it seems endless and you hate life because you’re tired and can’t see the top and just feel like you’re not making any progress. Then, you’re there. And you’re able to look back down and see where you were and all the places where you doubted yourself and it’s truly amazing.