Maturity is defined as the state of being an individual fully capable of making life decisions and looking after oneself. It is the ability to respond to a situation in an age-appropriate manner.
“Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity.”
– Samuel Ullman, poet
Does age define maturity?
When it comes to maturity, age is never a deciding factor. It only defines how old a person is physically but it can never measure how mature a person is. A person’s life experiences are likely to help with the maturing process. As we go through difficult situations we learn to adapt and grow. But we also meet people who are blessed with a hassle free existence. This is why we can find a forty year woman who gossips around and acts like a teenager and also a ten year old motherless child who nurses her younger sibling and provides for both.
Maturity is often seen in correlation to these factors:
- Accountability (and responsibility)
It brings with it an independence to reason, in other words, thinking for yourself, and using whatever knowledge you were taught and incorporating it with your own reasoning and beliefs. Children have this ability to reason. This ability does not come with age. It comes with experience.
However, there is a maturity that takes place beyond an age correlation. People mature by experience and circumstance. People mature from trauma, religion, and conditioning and in some cases cultural training. Across cultures we have children entering what is considered adulthood at the early age of 10 or 11. Some cultures have rites of passage in which maturity is a result of completing some specific ritual or teaching that sets the child ahead of his actual age.
Age brings maturity and makes one wise because of one’s hardships and experiences throughout a person’s life but age cannot determine maturity as not all undergo hardships and challenges in their lifetime. Life has a different path for each of us where we attain maturity at different times and circumstances.