What is maturity? We all hear it from time to time. In the status quo, it seems that age is the modern day law for one to be mature. It is no longer about what wisdom you hold, but instead what decisions you are capable of making.
To put it bluntly, present day society uses maturity as an excuse to do dumb things. Case in point: Roaming around campus, all too often one can hear “Don’t tell me what to do. I’m mature enough to make my own decisions. I’m going to [over] drink if I want to!” If we continue using this representation of maturity, all society ends up accomplishing is disguising mediocrity under a false positive light.
An individual should instead be qualified as “mature” when he or she has a state of mind achieved through wisdom and experience. Ironically, the most mature individuals know that the state of perfect maturity is a life long journey if not impossible. Being mature is not just about being able to make “a” decision, but rather knowing your capabilities, being able to control yourself and making the right decision (sometimes).
Just like the above fallacy we often associate being kid like or childish with immaturity. However, I believe that there are two different connections that should be delineated.
First, is the classic case of not knowing what you don’t know and acting impulsively. This I would agree is the opposite of the definition of maturity and therefore the definition of immaturity.
Second, is approaching the world with an open mind. Passing through the education system we are taught to think logically. Inevitably, this method of thinking passes into our normal lives once we become older. We know what can and can’t be done. Or at least we think so.
Give a paper clip to an adult and a typical 5 year old and tell them to think of as many things it could be. The adult may come up with a good 10-20 items, but the “kid” will come up with over 60. Why? Because the child has no restrictions to limit him or her. Kids are the world’s best entrepreneurs. All the child sees is the task and what the paper clip could be. The adult may think, “It is just a paper clip for crying out loud!” But it is no fault of the adult that fewer items could be thought of. The problem stems from the logical training we receive from kindergarten through graduation that creates the limits on our creativity.
Thinking we know is potentially the sole barrier to innovation and creativity. We become too rigid and resistant to change simply because we believe there is no way that other alternatives can be possible. But if we step back and open our mind to all possibilities and opportunities, we can be innovative and create new solutions.
Given a background in debating on a national scale, I’ve become accustomed to not only thinking quickly, but also being able to argue a topic effectively on both the affirmative and negative side. Sometimes I too fall into the trap of thinking to logically or making a wrong choice. But learning from the experiences of others and attempting to open my mind to all kinds of possibilities even in what we take for granted, I hope to stay on my journey to maturity.
At the same time, I am a kid at heart and always will be. I open my mind, ignore all common belief and try to make the impossible become possible. But that does not mean I am immature. I still take calculated risks. Some may call it insanity, but I like to see it as pushing the limits with my curiosity.
*When I began this post I had a lengthy response already written, but after speaking and debating one night with a good friend I decided to restart my response.