Between Age and Maturity

Age and Maturity, two words which may sound similar by definition or as my Linear Algebra lecturer would say, homogeneous. People often get confused with these two words, me included but it is high time we know the difference. We grow up thinking they are one and the same thing but if you are a really good reader you would understand that there is a difference. Well, one obvious difference is the pronunciation. Try and pronounce those two words and tell me if the sound the same. See, I got ya!

If someone really asked me which were my greatest days in life, I will confidently say my high school days. They were dramatic, thrilling, horrifying and interesting at the same time. No day passed without something taking away my breath. Whether ten strokes of the cane while lying flat on the ground, an A in Mathematics or a D in my Business Studies test. You can include that subject in my dislike list later but the point is I really had some tough and somehow disgusting and happy life in high school. Those four years are the ones that shaped me to the person I am now.

Teenagers like playing a lot, do nasty stuff to others like stealing each other’s pens or soak your enemies’ books into a bucket of water and be happy with it. Sometimes I remember I used to poke my desk mate’s nose with a needle which now looks really dangerous but back then all seemed good and fun. But I remember my classmate George who really hated that “childish” behavior. Every evening during our class meetings he would start rebuking us for acting like barbarians and savages. He would end up his speech by one of his popular phrase, and I quote “Ya’ll need to grow up. Be mature”.

All who knew George by then (my classmates of course) and for the sake of those who do not know him, he was somehow tall(not that tall but compared to everybody in the class he was), physique, handsome and light skinned. I somehow feared him, you know for his muscular built body but generally I had respect for the dude. So when he talked about maturity all I thought was being like he was. Have a handsome look by pouting and smiling all the time and a moustache which I never had but George’s had started sticking out. I tried acting like him for a day and to be honest I did not like it. I looked like some sort of a clown and I gave up.

All my sophomore year I thought George was mature because he was older than me. I hoped that if one day I get to be old as George I will be mature too. I did not want to continue poking my friend’s nose with needles. Who knows what the next thing will be? Suffocate them by blocking their nostrils with paper balls soaked in saliva? No, I did not want that. So I started working on my behavior and attitude thinking that by the end of the year I will be a grown up and matured “man” like George. Folks, I was wrong. Instead I became something else, which I cannot tell you today because it’s embarrassing. Maybe some other day.

It was not until my final year that I learnt, the hard way though, that being mature has nothing to do with age. I was seventeen and I was the same douchebag and a worthless prick who used to piss everybody off. The other shocking thing that I discovered was that George was not really the “matured” person I thought he was (no disrespect though buddy) but he was just a grown young man who took no interest in pranking people. Darn, what a mess. I really had to think about what meant by growing up and being mature.

In my community people believed that after circumcision a person should be well versant with the community’s laws and be aware of his/her responsibilities as an adult. Circumcision was the mark of shading off teenagehood and entering the adult life. That made you to be seen as mature. Well, I was raised in town and I did not go through all that in case you are wondering why I used to poke people’s noses while asleep. As the culture is getting eroded now people in the society have adopted the catchphrase “grow up young man” whenever you do something stupid or “childish”, which after all they want to mean is “Be mature young man”. But those two phrases actually mean different things.

Age is just a number, maturity is a choice.

Harry Styles

I want to quote an answer to a question posted on Quora which asked What is the relationship between age and maturity? Bibhuti B. Mishra answered the question, and said:

Aging is a just a number, maturity is a choice. Aging is a natural process. It can not be helped. Once a child is born, he starts aging. As he grows up by years, , his lifespan is shortened by same no of years. In other words, as he lives a full day, he dies by same period. It means ,from his life span that day is gone. Maturity is not connected with age. A person can be called a mature person , when he is aware of his strength, weakness , need, Maturity is something connected with self consciousness. It is to be aware of own potential, strength , weakness etc. A mature person recognises own emotion, as it arises. He is not carried away with it. An aged person is not necessarily mature.

Bibhuti B. Mishra, Quora F&Q.

Well, in a scale of 1 to 10 I give this answer a 9, the 1 is because there is no definite answer to what maturity is. Maturity consists of a lot of things, good things for that matter and i do not think there is quite a precise formal definition of what maturity is.

As Mishra says, age is just a number. Aging is a simple and natural biological process which has to occur no matter what. A person has no control over how fast or slow he ages, it happens at its own pace. So it cannot be helped, in other words we cannot help it in anyway whatsoever. All we can help or control is what we do as we age, as we grow up. This is where maturity slides in.

Maturity is not connected with age. There seems to be a relationship, a genuine one in fact, where we do not expect a child to fully understand what maturity is but that happens as the brain cells are grown enough to comprehend the concept. But the point is a person can be mature at any stage only after he starts understanding what maturity is because maturity is a choice.

Mishra says maturity is something connected with self consciousness. I did not have to be nineteen years old to know that poking my friend’s nose with a needle while asleep was dangerous and that it could hurt him if the ”joke” went south. I did not realize it by then but now I pity my friend. What if I accidentally left the needle lying in the nostril then my sleepy friend decides to take one of those deep breaths people do when they are dead asleep? I would be narrating the sad story of a dead friend of mine in high school to my juvenile mates in prison. It takes more than age to realize that it was a risky game, a Russian roulette at its own savage level.

Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.

Samuell Ullman

Maturity too is about controlling one’s actions, desires and thinking. It is about having a judgmental conscience about actions someone is about to take and have a second thought in case the actions may pose a negative impact on someone else. Basically, maturity is the state of believing in doing the right thing and controlling your emotions, without letting them carry you away with them.

So maturity is not acting like George, in both behavior and lifestyle. The practice of maturity starts with you when you decide to choose the right path by doing good things, morally acceptable deeds. A person can have a cute moustache, a long and black beard but without knowing your weakness, strength and control your actions age is just a number and a moustache is just a hairy part of your skin.

So as I conclude, I want to leave you with a poem By Zachary Walma called Maturity and a quote from me:

If maturity was determined by age, some people will never grow up.

Silas Jimmy

Think about those words, both in the poem and the quote and have a nice day.

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