One of the hardest things about being in high school aside from the emotional instability brought upon by raging hormones and going through unfamiliar territory in discovering who we are is finding a sense of belonging.

It’s definitely not a good sign when one feel likes one belongs in a fictional world as opposed to the real world and in a sense, that’s what what books have been to me–and in particular the Sweet Valley series–a safe haven during the tumultuous coming-of-age period.

Now that we look back, we can easily categorize movies, TV series, or books into genres such as the coming-of-age novel or film which appeals to our sense of nostalgia, sentimentality, or escapism. Watching a coming-of-age novel is a vicarious thrill since it has all the excitement and the pain at a safe distance, without having to go through “all that” all over again.

If we were to be honest (and if we are one of those popular golden people in high school) coming of age is often a bittersweet experience and tends towards more bitterness than sweetness and we would not wish to go through all of that fear, uncertainty, and chaos once again–unless of course, we were one of the so-called ‘In’ crowd.

For remarkably average people like ourselves who did not have everything that we encounter turn into gold during our teenage years, the awkwardness and the confusion would be too much to go through again and there is some solace in being an adult safely a decade or more away from those gawky years.

If we think about it, we all just wanted to fit in, to be accepted, and to belong way back then but then again, as we can say now from a safe distance, ‘Kids can be so cruel.’ Hardly anyone leaves high school unscarred–except for the top 2% who probably inflicted all the scarring and the other 1% who are just plain lucky.

We did not have mobile phones, laptops, or internet back then, but it would be safe to say that coming of age does not get any easier in this era of Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Instant messaging.  Suffice to say, it probably makes it more complicated.

Coming of age is probably one of the most universally difficult experiences which transcend culture and country.

At the core of it is the need for a sense of community and we can only hope that with all the cutting edge technologies invented by science, that there would be some way to be able to–at the most basic level–enhance and aid the fragile and unstable psyches of our adolescents if only to make the transition from being a child to a “grown-up” (whatever that means) easier…

In doing so, we can eventually be a step closer to making the world a better place.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

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