As we move away from the excitement and poorly judged choices we associated with maturity, we realise that we do, in fact, want to spend time with those who care and cared for us. We seek their wise counsel rather than avoiding it. We come to the realisation that true maturity is acknowledging that life is designed to be lived in community, reliant on those around us. And most crucially – asking for help isn’t childish but the most mature thing of all.
We start to want to care for our bodies. The idea of a hangover is repulsive and to be avoided at all costs, rather than a necessary penance for a fun night with friends. We want to invest in our growth and development in all the ways; emotional, mental, academic and spiritual. We start to self-impose the restrictions that we railed against in our youth. The idea of a 10pm bedtime is absolute bliss and events that start at 9pm are abhorrent.
By Maddie’s metrics, I grew up at 15, but by mine, I was 25. It wasn’t until then that I started asking myself questions about the person I wanted to be – not the one I thought others wanted of me. This is when I walked into a church and when I decided that really understanding what I believed was important. It’s also when I started letting thoughtful people speak into my life rather than being convinced that I knew better.
Despite being a decade on from that period of inviting in development and support, I still can’t be certain I’m done growing up, but I wonder if acknowledging that truth is its own form of maturity. From time to time, I get behind the wheel of a car from time to time and think: “Does anyone know I’m doing this unsupervised?” And when I babysit young children, I half expect a real grown up to come over and relieve me of the responsibility, telling me I’ve done a good job but they’ll take it from here. I asked a woman in her 70s when she finally knew she was an adult, she replied:
“I don’t know if anyone truly considers themselves grown up.”
The film perfectly illustrates our rush to mature, our societies’ obsession with collecting milestones and experiences and our warped idea of what adulthood should look like. But when I reflect on the maturing process, all I can conclude is that the more we grow in childlike awe, wonder and accepting of our limitations – the more mature we become.