What is maturity?

I’ve only been twenty for a few months now, but I can rest assured knowing that I still have a lot of life left ahead of me. There’s something quite developmental about being a teenager that I quite enjoyed, going through a process of maturity. It’s like finding your tempo when running a race. Not to fast, but not to slow. Enough to get you to the finish line with the rest of the pack. I remember when I was thirteen, I thought I was a mature person. Then again when I was sixteen, I thought I had truly figured out what maturity was. Then again when I turned eighteen. By now I thought I had figured out what maturity was.

Nope, wrong again.

Even now, twenty years into my life I still don’t think I fully understand what maturity is and what it means. Of course, I can have my own concept of it, what it means to me…but that’s all relative.

It’s all relative.

That was something I didn’t get when I was in my teenage years. The entire idea that maturity is relative. I worked for a few months as a teaching assistant in a grade five and six students and I remember thinking to myself; “God was I this immature when I was that age?” Obviously at the time I didn’t think so, I thought I was on top of the world. Like I said, it was entirely relative.

The way that a parent looks at their kid and wishes they would be more mature is totally different in the way that I look at my past self and wish I had been more mature.

Since I began embracing minimalism and living intentionally just over a year ago, I’ve started to figure out what maturity means to me and exactly how ‘mature’ I want to be.

How mature do you want to be?

I’ve always been the kind of guy who wants to make others laugh. I want other’s to feel included, like they’re not being left out. Now, sometimes because of this there’s a lot of eccentrics and comedy to be had. But for me, being mature wasn’t so much about refraining from making a joke if the opportunity presented itself. Maturity wasn’t acting civilized in a public setting. I wasn’t going to let other people’s concept of what being mature is, dictate how I lived my life. I wanted to let my own idea of maturity take control.

I only wanted to care about things that where worth caring about. So I did.

I started ignoring what didn’t matter and focusing on what did.

As a kid, at school and even at home, I’m definitely not the loudest person in the room. I can be at times, absolutely. Everyone has their moments where they are the loudest voice in the room. Yet in my redefined version of maturity, I decided that I wanted to listen more. I didn’t want to always be the loudest voice, only when there was something meaningful to say.

Another thing came about as I redefined my idea of maturity was gaining a heartfelt appreciation of time. It’s a precious commodity that a lot of us seem to take advantage of. We either maximize the potential of the time we are given…or we waste it haphazardly.

Maximize your potential.

After I had redefined my personal idea of maturity, it allowed me to truly follow my own passions. No longer did I find myself caring about what other people thought of my work. Negative opinions are everywhere in the world but like I said before, I decided only to care about what was worth caring about. And in my own mind, a negative opinion has no place in my life. I don’t need to waste my time with it. I can move on, that’s not a big deal. No matter what, there will always be someone who doesn’t like what I do or what I’ve done. Regardless of where I go, I can’t please everyone.

Learning to understand that and fully appreciate it was an important thing for me. I feel like that has made me more mature, more understanding and more intentional with the things I do.

And it’s possible for you to do the same thing, to redefine your idea of maturity. It takes practice and discipline, but its completely possible. You’re not stuck with the same way of thinking forever, that’s the beauty of life. If you’re willing to change, want to define your own maturity, all you need to do is start.

This isn’t rocket science. 

This is life. 

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