The International Writers Magazine: Philosophy
is an initiation ceremony without advance notification, without
When does a person
become an adult?
When s/he begins to vote? Or fall in love, or have sex, or earn a paycheck?
Or is it when they discover their parents are not the Statesmen/Stateswomen
they have assumed them to be all along?
Is it when you feel you are not so far from the time when:
your dreams are spammed with funeral scenes
where you're not in that black-clad crowd but you are
present, staring out of that gold-plated boll-lined box
humming "all eyez on me" to the tune of the crowd's
"Shall We Gather At The River",
everyone filing past, emptying tear-clouds
for/on you, and you wanting to scream:
STOP STARING AND LET ME OUT!
Then you wake and your eyes are glued to that cupboard where lies your
wills - versions many as the Bible
and cherished memories are a sunny morning's fading fog. With no mean
amount of 'The most humble Trepidation', I intend to propose what I
consider a more probable answer.
I think that we become adults everytime we learn something new. Everytime
we take our place in the classroom of lifes ironies, paradoxies
and lessons, we are on our ways to graduating once again and and then
once again again as adults.
Everytime we discover that a Truth, a Belief, a Hallowed, a Taken-for-granted,
a Given, (that we have allowed to serve as a Base into which we have
poured the concrete of our lives) is Unvalid, Ungenuine, Fake; we shed
The Truth may be Innately Defective (for example, operating on several
different patients without any attempts at disinfection, which was standard
medical practice centuries ago, is an Innately Flawed Process, whether
then or now) or not - in this case only portraying Falseness by virtue
of the passage of Time and/or Chance over its surface.
For example, while it is impossible for the telegram to cease being
ie: Innately a means of communication, in the light of present technology
it shows up as a highly defective, disfigured means of attempting to
get in touch. For a girl who has always known that boys are evil, the
day she discovers the exception to the rule, she becomes an adult. A
man who has always believed in the undisputable goodness of pastors
(being Men Of God); the day he discovers a greedy one, he becomes an
Adulthood is an initiation ceremony without advance notification, without
invitations, without a guest list. You swear your oath of allegiance
on the spot. No time to savor the passage from one phase to another.
A second ago you were but a child, just a child.
Yet this new adulthood is only just another childhood. The childhood
of another impending adulthood, that will grab you by surprise. You
are a Child-Adult, an Adult-Child. For the child is the father/mother
of the man or woman, and the father/mother of yet another child. In
a child are ONE adult and Children.
We are born as babies, infants with an infinite number of layers of
adulthood to be shed, one after another.
The Paradox is this:
That the shedding does not deplete us. If anything it completes us further.
It increases our girth, adds more rings to the trunk of our lives, rather
like what losing our teeth as children did for us.
When I grow Up
I want to be...
Tolu Ogunlesi was born
in 1982 in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents, and has lived most of his life
in Nigeria. He has just graduated in pharmacy from the University of Ibadan,
Nigeria. His essays have appeared in The Journal of contemporary anglo-scandinavian
poetry, and in Hackwriters(www.hackwriters.com/tolu.htm)
tolu ogunlesi, in addition to being a member of the advisory panel of
The MUSE APPRENTICE GUILD (http://www.muse-apprentice-guild.com/) is the
author of the just released poetry collection LISTEN TO THE GECKOS SINGING
FROM A BALCONY (Oct 2003; Jacobyte Books, Australia available for sale
online as a paperback and also in ebook format. you can click here to
see the book,view an excerpt and/or make a purchase.
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