In his "SINCE YOU ASKED" column at Salon.com, Cary Tennis responds to a young man who asks:
"HOW DO I BECOME AN ADULT?: I missed the memo on how to grow up."
Here's the young man:
"I feel ashamed of myself because I know I could contribute good things to the world, but right now I'm not, and in fact, I feel like I'm on the path to becoming a detractor. Instead of putting things out into the world I let myself succumb to the seduction of my imagination, where everything is better and easier and more comfortable and yet more thrilling at the same time. I know I need to work harder on the thing that I'm passionate about but I feel like all this BS is clouding my ability to."
Here's an excerpt from Cary's response:
"Your distress is the memo. Adulthood - or your fate, shall we say - is staring you in the face, like a tiger that has crept up on you in the night. It is looking at you, wondering, When should I devour this child? Is it time? You open your eyes in terror. The tiger looks at its watch. Being devoured by the tiger that is adulthood is not so bad. The tiger eats you, digests you and drops you on the forest floor, not as a turd but as a cocoon. When you awaken and find the strength to break your shell, you emerge, eventually, as an adult and an apprentice. You are transformed in the belly of the tiger. You are remade.
Quoting the author Bill Plotkin, Cary goes on:
"The process of becoming a true adult is the process of coming to know one's ultimate place as an individual."
And finally, Cary concludes:
"To sum up: You know what time it is. The tiger knows what time it is, too. It is time for you to become an adult. But you do not know how to do it. Of course you don't know how to do it! You are not really supposed to know how to do it. The way you learn how to do it is by wandering. But you also need to find a guide."