The Maturity Theory
comes from the Latin word mātūritās
Synonyms of maturity, from Merriam-Webster’s Online Thesaurus
These associated words are widely accepted.
Thus in society’s eyes,
Maturity = adulthood. Immaturity = childhood. Period.
But, to me the idea that adulthood equates to maturity
an obvious paradox.
Without a doubt, I forever want to be a
“child at heart”, an overused idiom that suggests that I seek to remain
Adventurous, carefree, honest, unhindered by reality, able to dream big and preserve limitless imagination
But if those characteristics are analogous with childhood
And childhood is the opposite of adulthood
And adulthood is analogous with maturity
Are all of the “child at heart” characteristics analogous with
And are the antonyms of those characteristics considered maturity?
If fearful, serious, insincere, logical, and methodical
are words that describe maturity, then
Shouldn’t we all relinquish some maturity to embrace being a
“Child at heart”?
Following the logic stated above,
The “Child at heart” mentality would definitely open up opportunities to have a much more enjoyable, free, and creative life.
I believe that the current societal definition for maturity arose because there are parts of childhood, namely
full dependence on others,
lack of complex skills,
that many of us feel should be abandoned if possible as we get older. And I agree.
But the fact that all childhood characteristics are automatically deemed immature means that
somewhere along the line in building the current societal definition of maturity, we have smeared its true meaning.
Ultimately, I have developed my own theory of maturity because I believe that as a society, we have some redefining to do.
Maturity Theory Part 1: Supporting Evidence
Being adventurous, transparent, and imaginative are not characteristics that one should lose after transitioning to adulthood.
This theory is further supported by the fact that many adult professions heavily rely on these traits to succeed.
Engineers, Writers, Tour guides, Musicians, Teachers, Directors, Photographers,
Pediatricians (the profession that I’m pursuing), etc.
Through observing a pediatrician at work, I’ve already learned that communicating in a transparent, honest, and ethical manner, while finding the right balance of seriousness with silliness in order to make patients and family members feel comfortable,
Transparent, silly. Both words that reflect a “child at heart” type of attitude.
Maturity Theory Part 2: The Proposition and Redefinition
I propose that we eliminate the current watered-down societal definition and refer to the original Latin root to
truly understand and redefine maturity.
Mātūritās = ripeness
Brought by aging to full flavor or the best state.
It describes the passing of time that brings about growth and development.
It is less concerned with the loss of silliness and adventure.
More concerned with
(1)Development: moving forward, strengthening connections, advancing
(2)Growth: (Mimicking a flourishing plant) vertically moving towards the sky (our goals and dreams), or horizontally reaching out to what surrounds, bringing new life (enriching the people and communities we interact with).
Maturity Theory Part 3: Conclusion
Let us make sure that when we are aiming for maturity, we have our arrow pointed at the right target.
I conclude that becoming mature should not equate to less adventure or more seriousness. Instead the process of maturing entails
a change in perspective,
an advancement of skills,
a commitment to learning from life’s lessons as time passes.
One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
When our childhood (or simply anything from the past) has brought about pain, we can aim to use what we’ve learned to ripen--to mature.
Let 2017 be a year of maturity,
to be the best we can be each day,
to gain life-long skills,
to make special connections with others,
to learn from past mistakes and face the next day with courage,
to use the increasing amounts of responsibility we acquire to fulfill our purpose
to live with