Turning 20 is a period filled with an overwhelming level of excitement and yet concurrently an unprecedented level of uncertainty. We leave our teenage years behind and we realise that our days as rebellious, reckless and naïve high school students are over, and with that comes the realisation that we are gradually becoming independent and mature young adults. Accordingly, this leads us to develop questions about our career choices, our friendships, our hobbies and most importantly ourselves and how we are perceived by others. Thus, it is often during this period that we begin to question whether we have indeed ‘matured’ as individuals.
Maturity is a word that is often associated with turning a certain age (16,18,21) and consequentially becoming an ‘adult’; yet if there is one thing that I have learned this year it’s that there’s more to this word than merely age. 2019 for me has been a year full of highs and lows, there have been times where I have lost interest and motivation in my studies and questioned whether the course I was studying was really right for me. It has been a year where I have become a lot more outgoing and developed new friendship groups and hobbies. It has been a year where I have reflected on myself as a person and questioned whether I was indeed the person I wanted to be in front of my friends, family and those around me in my social circle.
In this post I want to write about the several different signs of maturity I have learned this year.
It is the attitude of acceptance that I believe really defines maturity. It is having the ability to know our limits and acknowledge our weaknesses; instead of displaying a degree of arrogance to them and pretending there non-existent. Its accepting that those around us will have different opinions, being open to them and understanding the reasons behind them; instead of trying to change them.
It is being able to accept criticism, accept the fact that we’ve made mistakes and we have done and said things that we’d rather take back. Accordingly, it is then having the ability to learn from those mistakes instead of denying that we have ever made them, dwelling over them or blaming other people for them.
It is being able to see a harsh grade to an assignment and think to yourself ‘what can I do better’ / ‘how can I improve next time’ instead of the ‘this is unfair’ / ‘I wasn’t marked properly’/’they were bias’ excuse. It is being able to reflect on an argument between us and one of our friends and think ‘did I act accordingly’/ ‘I acted out of line I should apologise’ ; instead of the ‘ their just overreacting / their always like that’ excuse.
It is accepting the fact that our teens and early twenties will not last indefinitely and making the most of our youth; instead of over excessively investing stress and energy into things we do not believe give us a real sense of enjoyment( IE: Overexcessivley working , studying etc..).
2. The removal of the notion that we need to be at the ‘center of attention’
It is the realisation that the spotlight is not going to always be on us and that we do not always need to be the center of attention that is perhaps another sign of genuine growth. It is being able to enjoy and be interested in our own day to day life rather than being constantly stressed over what those around think of us.
It’s the realisation that every time where at a party / beach / restaurant we should be more interested in the moments themselves; rather than being concerned about how many photos of the event we should upload on our social media stories.
It is pursuing hobbies and career pathways that we are genuinely interested in and give us a real sense of purpose and belonging; instead of ones that merely seek to give us validation and approval in our social circle because those around us are interested in them.
It is being able to display humility over our achievements and being able to look at them as a reflection of how far we have come; instead of merely looking at them as opportunities to brag about to our peers and ‘one up’ them.
3. Honesty and Confidence:
Perhaps the final traits that I really believe defines maturity are honesty and confidence. It is honesty through developing a personality that is authentic and genuine. It is confidence through showing strength in any situation and not being afraid of failure.
It is being able to answer a job interview question based on a genuine experience; instead of relying on a memorized generic response.
It is being able to honestly observe that our workload in a university semester might be excessive and cutting it down, instead of merely ignoring it and ‘burning out’ later in the semester.
It is being able to see that perhaps a particular friendship group is not really one that we enjoy spending time with and moving on ; instead of continuing to hang out with them due to social pressure.
It is being able to look at a situation/event that did not go our way ; and confidently think to ourselves ‘that sucks – but its not the end of the world’; instead of trying to elicit pity or sympathy from our peers.
It is not being afraid to take risks and realizing that our goals are not ‘be all end all’ scenarios and that irrespective of failure or success we are going to be ‘absolutely fine’ ; instead of continuously being anxious about the outcome that goes our way.
As always thank you for reading this post; it has been a pleasure posting for eveyone this year. All the best with 2020.