What is Maturity?
Merriam- Webster's dictionary defines the term as follows:
1. fully developed physically; full-grown
2. the quality or state of being mature; especially full development
3. termination of the period that an obligation has to run
Seems straight forward enough. But what if I told you otherwise?
We all like to believe we have taken the necessary steps towards growth and our maturity has peaked. Our ego likes to tell us that the sum of our being thus far is divine; that we have a grasp on maturity because we pride ourselves on continuously and consciously taking the higher route.
The inclination to believe we are selfless and kind is just one way we pride ourselves on being mature. That we can shrug off someone's bad behavior, having made up our minds on very little information. Our inferences are enough to guide our actions, sure, and in many cases, this is enough to carry us through the day.
But in doing so, we also looked inside the box. So far in that, perhaps we were to miss the entirety of the exchange altogether, and its potential to further aid in our maturing as a process. Because that’s exactly what it is.
Maturity as a one size fits all, single definition, and finite destination contradicts itself. As creatures, we are never fully developed. Our body is growing daily, our mind constantly changing, and our cells dividing until no longer able.
The very qualities that we praise and deem in a person as mature are to insinuate they no longer require work to uphold. That once we have reached a certain threshold, we are now able to permanently carry the title of “mature” adult.
Breaking this idea down further; what is the benefit of this immediate moment of maturity, and what is the cost? The benefit is straight forward- we took the higher route and looked beyond ourselves-check. We saved time-check- and the potential for incessant conflict-check.
When we make up our minds before exercising our ability to seek knowledge about how or why others come to their own conclusions, we are limiting ourselves to a narrative that we already wrote. One that, despite having its strengths, will also inevitably be preceded with short comings. We unknowingly cost ourselves the ability to mature when we carry the belief we have already finished growing.
Instead, we need to view maturity as a life long commitment with a bumpy process. Maturity is the exercise of understanding our individual sense of self and the world around us through trial and error. It is not the pacification of other points of view, or the dismissal of another's rationale for their beliefs or behaviors to not to rock the boat, or in a misguided preservation of our carefully crafted
The goal in rich lives is to expand our understanding of the complexities that lay far beyond our initial interpretations and comfortable, familiar belief systems. By this definition, true maturity does not have a termination, for it is the attempt to seek to understand in and beyond oneself.
We should not limit our definition of maturity to always being agreeable, or having a well wish to send someone off with. This is to insult the valuable experience we as human beings should embrace with the lives we are given. There is also maturity in more unaccepted forms that equally deserve respect:
The maturity of asking someone to help you fix a problem.
In being honest when something is uncomfortable or difficult to admit.
When breaking a promise or tie or responsibility or just letting go of something that hindered you or did not welcome your contributions.
Because maturity is not only measured in our polite responses to the outside