As I turned 25 this year, I am beginning to understand that although maturity does not come with age, it does come with life experiences, which you gain as the years go by. It would be hard to come across someone who is exactly the same as they are ten years ago.
1. A sense of who you are and your purpose in life.
As a teenager, we struggle with our identities and the meaning of existence. We are confused and lost with the direction we are going. Although I am no closer to finding out the meaning of my existence than I was five years ago, I am happy to say that I do now know what I stand for and the values I try to live my life by. I am also self-aware of my weaknesses and strengths. Basically, I feel that as one grows older, one is better able to see his own flaws clearer without the arrogance of adolescence.
2. The importance of the people whom you spend time with.
Now, I am not saying that it is easier to to make friends as you get older. What I am trying to say is that as you get older, you realise that you don’t have time for the drama or negativity of toxic relationships. Armed with the knowledge of what makes a good friend, you seek others out that are just like you, people who would support and motivate you through your major life changes while you do the same for them. We no longer have time to deal with people who just suck the energy out of the room every time they open their mouths to speak. It is really hard to express any sympathy for the girl who doesn’t have enough money to go on a first -class trip to Bora-Bora when you have actual problems to deal with, like major career switches or whether you are going to go back to school for a second degree.
3. The liberty of sticking to your choices no matter what other people think.
I think, for me, that is an important life lesson. You have this one life. And you have this one life and these set of circumstances to work with. You make your choices and you keep them. When one is younger, one often think about what others might think about their decisions or likes and dislikes. As you get older, you make your choices with logic and to hell with what other people think about them. When I was much younger, I worried about others laughing at me when I said I wanted a career in writing. Right now, as a mature student back in university for a communications degree, I just do what I know I am good at and work hard to find opportunities. You would realise as you grow older that as much as the opinions of others affect you, you cannot let it control you or you will never be happy.
4. What you want out of a romantic relationship.
When you are younger, all you want is elation and butterflies in the stomach feeling that comes with having a requited crush. You build individuals up in your head and you have attribute all kinds of qualities to them even before you have even had a proper conversation with them. Then you feel cheated when you finally get together with them because really, you realised in hindsight that you will be dating the individual himself with all his flaws and shortcomings and not the fictitious god you placed on a pedestal in your imagination. As you grow older (and hopefully wiser), you learn to see people for who they are, strengths and weaknesses. You learn that people are not perfect, yourself included. You learn to love despite the shortcomings because you know you need to be loved the same way, imperfections and all. You realise the things you need from a relationship and seek out someone who share the same beliefs and values as you do. It is very liberating.
5. That there will never be an “ah-ha!” moment when you become a grown-up.
This is my last and most important point. Despite all these signs that I have listed above, I have realised that as you grow older, there will never be a moment when you suddenly become a grown-up. I have always imagined, as a teenager, that when I turned 21 I would suddenly be interested in the news and politics and other “grown-up” things. I thought I would lose interest in video games and swooning over attractive actors. But I am 25 this year and I realise that the moment will never come. Yes, we make changes to our lives and become more responsible because we have to and because we see the freedom that comes with making our own choices. We see that if we want the freedom to be who we are, we need to do some things we might not enjoy doing. We do not lose the child inside of us no matter how old we are, we just choose to indulge it from time to time instead of giving in to our wants all the time. We will still love a good fart joke and we will still stay up (to a reasonable hour) to play the latest video game from the franchise we love. It is important not to lose all of that as we grow older.
So, that’s it, then. The things I’ve learnt as I grew older. Do let me know if you have any comments.