In American society, it is true that we do not have meaningful, community-based rituals that signify a life transition into adulthood. It’s hard to describe how the absence of these rituals has played a role in my maturing into an adult because I have never really thought about them. I have always thought that as you get older, you do different things in life that help you grow and mature. Some of these include going to highschool, going to college, starting a career, and even studying abroad. Being in a close family, I have been fortunate in my maturing into adult as I have always had aid in any hardships that have come my way. I believe this has made me a strong person in that as I grow up, I can see myself maturing when I look back on things from the past and how I may have acted a long time ago. In their text, Blumenkrantz and Goldstein wrote, “Creating opportunities for silence and to spend time alone…help a young person develop an internal dialogue for narrating and making sense of what is going on around them.” This really resonated with me because I often identify as an introvert and someone who values my time away from people in order to reflect and to think about who I am and where I am going. Just as Blumenkrantz and Goldstein said, this can help you to see how you fit into this big, crazy world.
Yet, I can tell that some people are not as fortunate as myself and do not take the time to see how they fit in with the world. In this case, like the authors had wrote, people create their own events and label them as rituals in a way that can be destructive. This can lead to heavy alcohol and drug use and more simply, poor choices that take people down the wrong path. Because of this absence of meaningful rituals and because people then make poor choices, I feel that the healthy development of the global community is slowed, which can be problematic for the people of the world continuing their goal of achieving equal human rights for all.
After reading the text of Blumenkrantz and Goldstein, I felt connected to many of the elements of a rite of passage. Three in particular include time alone for reflection, play, and connection to ancestral roots.
The reason I connected with play so much is that I have never felt so free and happy for such a long period of my life until now. Just as the text puts it, I have really found my “bliss” here in Italy. Being able to travel to a different Italian city every weekend is an extraordinary experience I have been able to do here. I have been able to run free in the narrow streets of Venice, climb the hills of Perugia, taste the vinegar of Modena, eat tons of ricotta in Palermo, and do even more in other cities in this beautiful country. It is certainly the most blissful part of my life so far and I have never had so much fun. Play is such an important element to this rite of passage because it allows me to be free.
The second element I connected with was time alone for reflection because of how often I take the time to reflect on my experiences and how they have made me feel. I am definitely living in the now here in Perugia, soaking in every experience that comes my way. By living in this way, I have so many emotions and thoughts that I must reflect on. Furthermore, by reflecting I can learn how I’ve grown. I can learn how far I’ve come based upon where I began this journey.
Being of Italian descent, the last element I connected with was connection to ancestral roots. I have always wanted to know what a real Italian was versus an Italo-American. Because I have been exploring Italy for so long, learning its culture, language, and history, I feel a deeper connection to my ancestors. In addition, I even met up with cousins and family that I have never met before in my life. They showed me a different side to Italian life and how strong family is. These three elements will play an immense role in my digital story.
The digital story I most connected with was Rachel’s and her story of Paris. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because of how she told her story and how I could feel that she felt she had grown through this experience. The combination of the slow music and the fact that she made a friend and grew to love her host culture allowed me to feel for her and enjoy the story.