Be mature and everybody will love you.
Be mature and you’ll move on up in the world.
Be mature and that perfect significant other is waiting right around the corner.
Be mature and…
That all sounds fine and dandy, but what does maturity really mean anyway? We all want to hold each other to this high standard of acting and being, judge each other based on this standard, and then classify everybody into their box on the ranking scale of personality traits and levels of this or that. But I don’t think that many of us (including myself) ever stop to really think about what we are automatically using as our own personal scales for decided somebody’s maturity, and how just because they are comprised of different points doesn’t mean that they are simply right or wrong.
So once again I ask, what is maturity anyway?
Does it mean waking up early to finish that paper, or knowing that your sleep is vital to your well-being?
Does it mean being transparent and honest with every last person, or sugar coating things to make sure that nobody gets their feelings hurt?
How about holding back from starting something you know you aren’t ready for, or jumping right in and knowing that mistakes must be made to learn lessons?
Certainly it must be taking risks and diving head first into opportunities instead of being safe and conscious to ensure doing things correctly through with well thought out plans.
Or maybe it’s planning and leaving the diving for a pool?
Do you escort people out of your life that have hurt and displeased you? Or do you believe in the power of understanding?
To forgive, or to forget?
It is saving money and being properly prepared for what comes next, or it’s knowing when an experience is greater than any earthly possession?
Maybe it means being spiritual and understanding that there is some sort of higher power, involving yourself with a community, praying, and practicing daily.
Or it could be exploring and stumbling, searching and finding in a way that is a bit more messy.
It’s listening to somebody, but possibly giving some sound advice.
Oh yes, leading by example and being perfect in every way so that others can emulate your actions and be just as perfect themselves.
But how about truthfulness, showing your weaknesses off just as much as your strengths to gain trust and understanding?
Is it being old enough to watch an R rated movie?
And then there is being humble. Or being confident….
It’s looking at the world through a magnifying glass, or understanding that you’re never going to define the answers.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what maturity is. It keeps coming up in my head, “is this a mature decision…what are people going to think about that…who is mature enough in my life to tell me what to do about this…”, the list goes on and on. I’ve been complimented many a times for the words that come out of my mouth and how “mature” they are. But do those people see when I go on crazy rants, let my moods get to me, or finish a “that’s what she said” joke? And then I realized that there are so many different kinds of maturity.
There are those that are emotionally mature, those that are logistically or analytically mature. Those that have street smarts, and those that have book smarts. You can be that person that is self-reliant as a form of maturity, or somebody that understands healthy interdependence is necessary in life.
You can be mature today, and a complete idiot tomorrow.
You can be making the “right” choice this second, and completely screw up the next.
Not one thing can define you as mature just as much as your whole being and complete set of actions can not highlight some of the most mature decisions of your life.
The definition is fluid, especially when it is being projected on others in respect to our own beliefs about it. So give each other a break, let them surprise you and show you which of their traits have matured past your own – maybe you can learn from them and show them a little something yourself. You don’t have to agree with them or try to be them. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something beautiful in them. Something that you have never seen first hand or thought. Something that they can bring into your life or something you can introduce into theirs.
To me, the greatest maturity of all is learning to love one another despite all of the variables that come into play. Judgement, although inevitable, can be kept in check. John 13:35
What do you think maturity is?