And Stop Acting Like a Child
Have you ever learned of someone’s age and thought how mature they were?
Or maybe you were on the other side of the coin, looking down on them for being immature.
Just as you shouldn’t compare your level of success, so too should you not compare who you are as a person.
We all walk different paths in life.
Some people never really grow up, whilst others, by circumstance, have to.
Interpretations of maturity may differ, however, here’s a great explanation:
“Maturity is not a matter of age, but instead, of how you choose to respond and react to various life situations. It is essentially a level of mental development or wisdom that has a bearing on all areas of an individual’s life, right from their conduct to their relationship with others.”
There are no rules for being “grown-up”.
You can live however you choose.
However, understand maturity in certain areas should be recognised, practised.
Because by shirking certain qualities and responsibilities, you’re sabotaging your full potential.
Everyone matures at different rates; however, it’s widely recognised that women mature faster than men. Or as Krystnell puts it, “men take longer to ‘act their age’ than women do.”
Much comes down to an individual’s circumstance, personality, upbringing, but maturity is one reason why many women prefer older men. Us blokes can be big kids who haven’t quite grown up.
This immaturity can result in once open doors being closed on you.
It happened to me during an outing with my mate, KC.
A well-respected and decorated military man.
Wife, kids, married a long time.
Faithful husband, loving father.
A great friend and a real stand-up guy.
But when the cheese is away (i.e. Mrs KC), the rats will play, and boy have we gotten up to some mischief together.
One Saturday, I flew up to Brisvegas to party with him.
I was on dating apps at the time (but am no longer, so ladies, call me 🤙), forgot to turn them off leaving Sydney, and were blowing up my phone soon after landing.
There was no intention of swiping; I was in town to hang with KC, but eventually gave into temptation and soon found myself chatting to a few of the locals as we proceeded between establishments; my conversations open slather between the two of us.
I was enjoying a reasonable back and forth with one lass but soon found that whilst younger, was way too mature for me. We were on different wavelengths, weren’t clicking, and my humour wasn’t funny to her.
The closer to our chat began when she asked, “…what’s the sexiest thing you find about adulting?”
WTF is adulting?
I’d never heard of the term before.
I looked at KC.
He shrugged so I Googled it.
“Adulting – the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.”
Bewildered by the question (and answer she was after), I gave a calculated response in the hope it would change the topic.
She disclosed her favourites – cheese boards, linen, and an early bedtime.
Yeah, this conversation was as good as over.
Who enjoys adulting?
Not me - I’m a big kid.
I adult only as required.
She had me lost for words, not knowing how to respond.
Eventually, KC broke the silence.
“I’ve got something. Give me your phone.”
I handed it over.
Needless to say, she unmatched me shortly afterwards.
So, what are the fundamentals of “adulting”?
Some, you’ll naturally learn over the course of life; others require effort.
Main points to consider from a list of many include:
- A steady job
- Financially responsible for yourself – own place, own car
- Run a household– cook meals, clean home
- Do personal admin – budget, pay bills, invest
These are the basic chores of adulthood. Mundane but necessary tasks.
If you’re not all over these, work at it.
It’s about self-reliance, looking after yourself - because for some, you won’t always have someone looking after you.
These are all external considerations – tasks you learn and do.
However, maturity equally requires effort on your inner game - who you are as a person.
Act Your Age
Another year, another digit.
One goes by slow enough to feel not much has changed.
But eventually, you’ll look back and reflect - where they’ve gone, how you’ve grown.
Whilst you have little control over the rate at which you age physically, emotional maturity is a trait you can develop. It is the level at which you are able to understand, manage, and express your emotions.
With high emotional maturity, you are more aware of your mood, how your behaviour affects others and can accept and learn from criticism.
Emotional immaturity results in difficulty relating to others because certain emotional and social skills are lacking.
If someone says something you are vehemently opposed to, can you discuss it without losing your cool?
What if you’re starving, and the waiter brings out the wrong dish an hour after you ordered?
How you handle your emotions and interact with others in situations like these denote your level of emotional maturity.
Aware of them or not, you may have emotional scars from childhood that affect you today.
I had a friend who had never been shown affection by her mother – no hugs or kisses. Not one “I love you.”
How do you think this affected her as an adult?
Physical intimacy made her uncomfortable. She didn’t enjoy sex.
Most of her friendships (including mine) were disposable, platonic, non-physical.
I remember one year she asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
My answer, a simple request – a hug.
Some carry childish behaviour well into adulthood.
High emotional states like anger or stress often bring out these habitual behaviours or reactions including:
- Dummy spits
Can you identify any of these behaviours within yourself?
If not, you may not have developed an “observing ego”, that is, the ability to reflect, acknowledge, and learn from your mistakes. To recognise your behaviour was out of line - not normal, justified, or a result of being provoked, therefore blaming others.
So, how do we improve emotional maturity?
As with anything, accepting responsibility for, and a desire to change your actions and behaviour comes first.
Online quizzes can help determine the level you’re at.
Areas to work on include:
- Identifying your emotions
- Controlling your emotions instead of being controlled by them
- Not holding grudges or keeping score – let it go
- Not taking things so personally
- Saying sorry
- Observing without judgement
- Listening more than talking
The level of emotional maturity you reach is up to you.
It won’t grow with age, but with recognition, self-awareness, and effort.
Control over your actions and emotions opens you to a greater connection with others, but most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself.
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.” – John Connolly
Adulthood can be as easy or as difficult as you make it.
Yes, there’s responsibility.
Yes, there’s maturity.
But they’re fundamentals of being grown-up.
Be true to yourself.
Remain young at heart.
Because “you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”