I have always felt that the test of true maturity is firstly, knowing who you are and being comfortable with that.
The second aspect, in my opinion, is having the wisdom, the foresight, the sense, the sensibility to solidify, to establish your place in the world.
Many younger people appear to have fallen into a devoted quest to ‘finish’ the task-sheet of life: they school, they play, they work, they earn, they accumulate, they purchase; they wed and they procreate. Some will argue that the more of the aforementioned aspects one has covered the more mature that makes them…
Almost as though this is some kind of prescribed challenge that everybody playing the game of life must accomplish and accomplish in that order; as though this is the way and there is no other.
…I will argue, aside from the last two, if one can’t achieve these goals as one person, then one is a failure. In my opinion the question of maturity relates strictly to one being; if somebody cannot handle the rigours of life alone, simply, they do not qualify as mature.
The sapient pearl that I received in my childhood regarding one gender maturing faster than the other, I now realise is a matter of perspective. The woman who told me that girls mature faster than boys for instance, might have perceived maturity as the ability to spend Friday nights at home listening attentively to conversation that holds no interest to the respective listener; she might have perceived maturity as the desire to settle into a nesting situation then spend a large portion of that life rearing a swag of ungrateful sprogs or, who knows?
The point is that to make the claim one gender matures more quickly than the other is extremely risky; as mentioned above to me maturity is about self-acceptance coupled with the desire to make your place in the world. Self-acceptance includes knowing who you are as a person thus having the ability to partake in reflective self-improvement, being willing to adjust your being to suit various instances but ultimately, being content with who and especially what you are. Making your place in the world doesn’t necessarily relate to ownership of items or property, it is more about a person’s feeling of personal belonging. In order to harness this belongingness it is my opinion that one must first achieve independence; too many people are reliant on others for not only their happiness, for their basic survival.
How can anyone claim to be a mature grown-up when in order to survive they need a counterpart; that’s co-existence in its most simple form and quite simply, it’s a weak existence.
It’s a fact that humans are gregarious creatures, but even sheep can manage alone.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Philao D Ledder
Photography by Shi Pea