getting older

Thoughts on getting older and maturing

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Well, it’s official.  It has taken me my entire life to get to this moment in time, but as of a week or two ago, I am 30 years old.  A “milestone” birthday.  Seeing the counter roll over to the three decade mark has made me think about my life for a bit, and I’d like to mention one of my reflections.

What really disturbed me on my birthday was the fact that both of my parents and my grandparents said the exact same thing.  After the events of the last 2 Presidential Administrations, I’ve developed a reflexive reaction based on the premise that when there is that much agreement coming from all sides something seriously bad is about to happen.

It was:

“You’re turning 30?!?  Do you know how old that makes me???”, quickly followed by some sort of  statement about how I’m maturing, like I’m a melon on a vine or something.

I wonder if that is true.  Am I really more mature at 30 than I was at 20?

See, I think that I am still the same person I was at 20.  I mean, I don’t feel any different.  I don’t think any differently.  Life just forces me to think about different things.  I believe that if you took the me at 20 and placed him into the life I currently have, he/I would respond in the same ways to the world currently around me because the “I” of the person remains the same. 

Think about it:  Do you know where your thoughts and ideas come from?  Can you really stop your thoughts and ideas from springing into being?  Does your ability to control the emergence of your thoughts and ideas grow with time, or do you just slow down so much that it looks like you’re taking time to consider something?  You make decisions instantly, you think thoughts instantly, then learn how to justify and defend them over time.  The wellspring of our thoughts and ideas, this entity does not, I believe, change over time.

I think that maturity is often simply being given the chance to show how mature you have always been.

For instance:  A 15 year old and a 16 year old.  We recognize that most people who are 15 won’t  be dramatically different than they will be at 16, yet we don’t consider them mature enough to drive.  Maybe they are every bit as mature at 15 as 16, mature enough to handle driving, but we can’t know that because they haven’t had the opportunity to prove themselves. 

I don’t believe that you become a mature person, I think you demonstrate various levels of maturity in response to varying situations and circumstances.  You are who you are, were, and will be.  A leopard doesn’t change his spots.

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