When you meet someone who seems wise beyond their years, you have to know that they usually were not born that way. They are not all old souls and ancient hearts.
The truth about people who seem super mature by their 20s is that they were forced to grow up quickly. The truth is that they were put in age-inappropriate circumstances and so they had to learn to do age-inappropriate things. People who mature quickly need to regain control of their lives, and the only way to do that is by growing up.
When you go through waves of unspeakable suffering when you’re young, you learn a few things about the world. You learn that you cannot control other people, but you can control yourself. You learn that money is freedom, and so you prioritize it. You learn that people respond to those they respect, so it becomes your mission to make yourself as intelligent and capable as possible.
No one wakes up one day feeling like they can’t wait to take on adult responsibilities. No one wants to isolate themselves, depend on themselves, or fend for themselves solely.
This happens because when you go through a lot of pain — especially, if not almost entirely, which is inflicted by others — you realize that when you are self-sufficient, you cannot be controlled. If you create physical space around yourself, you also create a barrier. If you are taking care of yourself, you don’t have to fear that someone else will or won’t.
Because what hurts us more than absolutely anything else is when we at once cannot live with, and yet cannot live without, the people who are causing us the most pain.
There is no suffering greater than needing to stay in the good graces of a parent who you rely on for your livelihood, while at the same time having to suffer through their mood swings and instability. There is no suffering greater than needing to stay in a broken relationship because if you don’t, you’ll end up on the streets or worse. There is no suffering greater than being forced into friendships that you are afraid to walk away from because the long-term consequences for your life could be unimaginable.
Young people don’t mature quickly because they want to be boring and serious and focused. They mature quickly because being a self-sustaining adult is the ultimate freedom. It unshackles you from needing to rely on undependable people. It frees you from their control. It means you can walk away if you need to walk away. It means you can have a space over which you solely govern. It means that you get to say what does or doesn’t become of your life.
In a lot of modern relationships, it’s common for younger women to be more mature and personally developed than their male counterparts — even if their partners are significantly older than them. (Millennial women even have higher credit scores than men.)
It wasn’t always this way. For decades, men were the head of the household, the ones tasked with being more responsible and focused. Do you know why the tides have turned? Because young women have had mothers and grandmothers in their ears since they time they were little girls telling them to be sure they always had their own money, they always had some sort of autonomy, they always took care of their own business so they didn’t need to rely on someone else to do it for them.
Do you know what they were teaching their daughters and granddaughters? How to make sure you always have a way out if you need one.
That’s why young women are becoming more capable and self-sufficient, taking on more leadership roles, earning more and offering more, and more than anything else, taking control of their lives and their futures.
Being an adult has a reputation of being this boring, inconvenient thing. This is not the case for people who weren’t coddled and given every privilege and opportunity in the world. For most of us, being an adult is the portal to a new world, a new life, a free mind, an open heart, and the ability to choose for yourself.