While growing up I often heard people say about me that I was in too much of a hurry to mature. In some ways that statement is true, but the implications of it are certainly false.
The first time I heard someone tell me that I was trying to grow up too fast I was pretty offended. In my mind, they were implying that I was constantly unsatisfied with my current state and was in a rush to leave my childhood and everything that came with it behind me. I would think of that “Thirteen Going on Thirty” movie and would be absolutely disgusted with the idea that someone might suggest I was behaving as the dreadful, ungrateful girl in that movie did. Now – being nineteen years old, engaged, and already beginning my career – I can see how someone on the outside looking in might come to the conclusion that I’m rushing into adulthood much too quickly. However, I would have to disagree. I can act as silly, be as good at any video game, and can be as entertained by any Disney movie just as much as any eight-year-old child. To me there was never childhood and adulthood, there was no “real world”. To me, there is just life and how we choose to live it.
Growing up, I was placed in some situations that required me to mature a lot faster than most kids my age. God took those not-so-great circumstances that I was placed in and used them to do amazing things in my life and to help me grow as a person, and I don’t regret a single thing that I have been through. This doesn’t mean that at the age of eight or twelve I suddenly had the wisdom and sophistication of a forty-year old. It just means that at an early age I learned that some things were more important than others. To learn that lesson at the young age that I did in a world that thrives on superficial ideals did wonders for me, and I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today if God hadn’t placed the obstacles in my life that he did. Another important aspect of my way of thinking is the way that my parents raised me. I am blessed to have two amazing, strong, and hard-working parents who have always taught my siblings and I that the world doesn’t owe us anything. If we want something, we have to work for it because nothing in life worth having comes easy. This is something that I wish more parents emphasized, and if I ever have children years (and I mean YEARS) down the road, this is something that I certainly would want them to know. I am a part of what some refer to as the “Selfie Generation”, a generation of individuals so caught up in themselves and much more interested in what the world has to offer to them as opposed to what they can offer to the world. If my parents didn’t raise me the way they did, I would be a very different person.
Now, if you’re still with me you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with my original point. The easy answer is that age is just a number. However, I’ve never been a fan of that phrase nor do I like to take the easy way out, so allow me to explain. There are plenty of thirty-year-olds who have the maturity of a fifteen-year-old and the work ethic of a sloth, and there are plenty of teenagers who have maturity beyond their years and are some of the hardest workers you will ever meet. I was never chasing adulthood. I was never under any illusion that once I reached a certain age I would be satisfied. I wasn’t drawn to the idea of any particular number, I was drawn to the idea of working hard to get the things I wanted. I was longing after being the amazing people that my parents have turned out to be. So in some ways those people that told me I wanted so badly to grow up were right. But as I actually have grown, and continue to do so every day, I realize how instead of being offended by that statement, I should be proud of it. Three days ago I was drawing pictures on the fogged up windshield of my car. Today, I got my eighth badge in Pokémon Black. Tomorrow, I’m going to get up early for work, and then go straight from there to school. To me, childhood doesn’t end at a set age, and adulthood doesn’t pick up where childhood left off. You don’t wake up one day and prance out of bed with the profound realization that you are now a part of the “real world” , as if to imply that everything you experienced until then wasn’t worth while. There is just life and how we choose to live it. I have always wanted to grow as a person. No one truly ever is completely grown, we are all growing and maturing every day. Some faster than others, and that’s okay. There is no shame to be had in wanting to mature, and there is no shame to be had in still being able to dream the way a child does.
The author M.J. Croan said it best when he said, “Maturity is when your world opens up and you realize that you are not the center of it.” If that is the case then yes, I do wish to be mature. I wish to be very mature indeed.