As I write this I am in a coffee shop in Cincinnati living in a limbo, a nexus if you will. I am in an odd buffer period of home life and mother-cooked meals while spending my daylight hours preparing for the plunge into adulthood. Not the legal kind of adulthood where a state or nation tells one when they can drive a vehicle or when they can imbibe fermented grains. No, this is a different beast, the non-bureaucratic kind. The responsibility I speak of does not require paperwork and identification photos and lines in a bureau of some sorts. It is the real kind of responsibility for livelihood, to provide through skilled labor and services, a means to acquire paper of a certain color and design, which in turn will purchase a shelter from adverse outdoor conditions and accommodate me a good selection of dead plants and animals to put over open flame and consume.
Bear with me if I am breaking all this down to an absurd base level, but what can a educated young adult do when faced with the prospect of being in complete control of the preservation of his own life and livelihood but by break things down with some hope of being better able to face the truth? If this sounds like a scary prospect, it is. However, it is also the most exciting prospect and opportunity that has ever come before me.
The concept of coming of age, in the broadest sense, comes to mind and I think about books or movies that I have read or viewed on the subject. A Separate Peace finds a man returning to the boarding school of his youth to come to terms with the fact that he crippled his athletically gifted best friend for life. The Sandlot sees neighborhood kids overcome fears and prejudices to learn life lessons and grow. Any 80’s John Hughes Movie has us sigh with nostalgia as we remember the awkwardness of growing up in a faceless suburbia where the mundane is turned into the mystical simply because there is nothing else.
I then think about my situation and what my story will be. My coming of age story, thanks to the opportunities presented to me by my University and its graciously accommodating alumnus, is thus: Andrew, you will travel around the world learning about the cultures of others to gain a deeper perspective on the human condition…Oh, and by the way, during this time of self discovery you will be charged with creating professional quality moving images of a person whom international panelists have dubbed the most charming and beautiful woman in the Universe. Gulp. It sounds grand, it sounds huge, it sounds like the weight of the (Miss) Universe is on my shoulders. Yet I know my time at Ohio University has prepared me to tackle this thing and to create something excellent. So stay tuned, dear reader, and find out where the world will take us.