Life doesn’t seem to be a continuous path of growing up and maturing. At least not for me, anyway. The path of life is more like a series of peaks and valleys (but with an overall upward slope), where the valleys represent the feeling of being a “rookie again”.
Let’s take the progression through school. You enter school in either Kindergarten or the First Grade. And you are definitely a rookie! Everything is new, you are disoriented, not certain what is expected, a little timid. And the kids in the other grades are so confident and capable. But somehow you survive this rookie experience and before long you are now one of the big kids, a Fifth Grader. Top of the world. Oldest kids in the grammar school. King of the playground.
But then it happens, rookie again. You move to a secondary school (for me it was Middle School and the 6th Grade) and again, everything is new, the rules are different, the expectations different, the routine of classes has changed. And all the kids in the other grades are so much more confident and bolder. However, you survive the early years of middle school and wind up again as “kings of the school” as 8th graders. Confident and cocky.
But, you guessed it! Rookie again. this time as the bottom of the heap in high school. A lowly 9th grader. The routine is new, the expectations greater, the school is new and bigger, and everyone above seems so confident.
I think you get the general pattern. Life is a series of “being a rookie again”. We go to college or the military or enter the workforce and we are rookies again. Everything different and strange. We get married. Definitely a rookie on that one and boy are the expectations and demands different. We change jobs. Rookie again. Etc., etc., etc.
Success in life, then, depends more on how we handle the “Rookie Again” experience than how we handle being at the top of the heap. Both are transitory, passing experiences in time. Yet some people make the mistake of believing and acting as is the feelings associated with being a rookie are permanent and somehow, insurmountable.
My daughter is off today to join the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for two weeks of practice and concerts in Leeds and London. She definitely has all the feelings of “rookie again”. Nervous, feeling out-of-place, not knowing what to expect, not knowing if she will be accepted or not (most of the kids are from 15-18 while she is only 13). A few sleepless nights and restless days have preceded this day. This is what she has to look forward to;
I wish I had learned the concept of life as a series of perpetual “rookie experiences” when I was young. I think with this understanding I would have handled situations differently and not been so caught up in the negative aspects of “being a rookie”.
Do you remember the many “rookie moments” in your life?
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress