PEARL

COMING OF AGE

Life is movement. And so is living. Being alive requires being able to be inwardly mobile. Thus, growing up from childhood there is an urge to find our own way through the maze of everyday experiences; a struggle through the usual pre-teen woes in order to sort out how to live a worthwhile life. Passing into our teen years we negotiate a critical phase in the physical and emotional transition of puberty, the first step on the road to adulthood, with its accompanying trials and tribulations. But increasingly for many youngsters, this onset is also the beginning of a very chaotic phase in their lives. In spite of the diversity of experiences, or perhaps just because of them, it is a time fraught with uncertainty and fevered identity exploration in the struggle to understand and engage with the world; a world that is now even more confusing than it has probably ever been. The young person of today rebels against parental and other adult conventions, challenging the status quo. Something is clearly lost in the throes of adolescence, but something is also gained. Why is adolescence so complicated?

An inspiration to be brave, to be good, to be one’s own authentic self. There is thrill of the first kiss and the first crush. With the translation from childhood into the adult world, everything changes suddenly; the sense of self manifests intensely, transforming the erstwhile nascent sense of gender identity, and nothing is the same as it was before. We show abilities and qualities, some of which we carry over into adulthood; others remain dormant, perhaps to be revealed again in later years. In puberty, we explore our curiosities, feelings and fantasies; we experiment with our identity and reinvent ourselves every few weeks – today a revolutionary, tomorrow a philosopher; today a singer, tomorrow an artist, and so on. We will never again display such a joy of discovery. We try out all sorts of new ideas, everything – most often to prove ourselves, regardless of

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