I’ve always resisted growing up. When I was younger I used to think that, with enough effort, you could preserve the mindset of a child; alas, this isn’t true. I mean, this is a common occurrence among young people—not wanting to grow up—but growing up is a natural thing and believe it or not, it is a good thing. The thing with growing up is that it really creeps up on you, and it happens without you even realizing. It has a lot to do with your ability to introspect and learn from experience, but the result of the process is not always obvious and straightforward.
The thing is, most people in their 20s and 30s don’t really get how far they have grown and how grown up they actually are. Let us open your eyes and show you how far you have actually gotten. The signs are subtle, but they are most definitely there.
1. You take time more seriously.
One of the clearest signs that you’re maturing is that you realize that how you manage time is one of the more important aspects of your life. Immature people don’t really think about time, and tend to waste quite a lot of it. They also tend to disregard other people’s time quite often and don’t realize why people get mad when they complain about their tardiness.
2. You confront responsibilities head on.
If you no longer have those moments where you keep procrastinating, all the while feeling guilty that you are not paying attention to all those responsibilities waiting for you, then congratulations, you are growing up. A mature person knows that he/she will feel much better if they handle the work first and then relax with a clear conscience.
3. You plan things out.
Impulsivity and spontaneity are things reserved for younger people. I’m not saying that mature people can’t show these qualities, but they don’t usually make life moves based purely on a gut instinct. Making big decisions like that can cause serious trouble for you if they go wrong and the less planning there is in your decision-making process, the more likely something is to go sour. For example a mature person is aware of the potential threats when moving, while an immature one takes the whole thing lightly. Carelessness is something you need to resort to in specific situations, not all the time. This is why a mature person will always have at least a broad plan that includes the goals they wish to reach. It is the only way you progress.
4. You think about your health more often.
Most people will think that this is just because as your body gets older, you automatically start paying more attention to health, but actually there are people out there that are quite old and still disregard their health. This has nothing to do with age; it has more to do with the realization that you are not invincible and that regular check-ups help you remain in good physical as well as mental health. This includes checking your home for health hazards which might not be outwardly apparent, like testing for potential mold that can cause respiratory problems, checking your installations for fire hazards and so on. There are quite a few threats that can skulk around the house without you being aware of them.
5. You feel uncomfortable doing nothing.
Wasting time used to be my specialty. Back in the day, I could waste an entire day doing absolutely nothing and even make the day seem short in all that nothingness. These days, things are quite a bit different. I tend to strive to fill every minute of my day with things that I consider either useful or enjoyable—in some cases, even both. Sitting around twiddling my thumbs really annoys me and makes me feel useless. Getting there is a process, but if you notice a slight annoyance when you spend an entire day doing nothing even though you have no obligations, then you are on the right way to maturity.
6. You have less patience for parties and going out.
Ah, yes, weekends come and go and you haven’t hit the club for months and you’re not even sorry. It used to be that you really felt bad by missing a chance to go paint the town red during the weekend with you friends, but these days, you are not really impressed by what this kind of lifestyle has to offer. You’d much rather enjoy a quiet evening with a nice dinner and a book or a movie before bed. Even when you decide to go out, the hangover that you get tomorrow really proves that it was not quite worth it. Furthermore, you lost an entire day recovering, which is a pretty steep price for one night of debauchery.
7. Your circle of friends is a bit smaller.
All relationships require energy and a part of growing up is realizing which relationships in your life truly hold great value and which ones do not require you to invest too much into them. Mature people know to show respect to the people in their life that truly matter and don’t waste too much time on causal relationships.
8. You rely on yourself more.
Whether it is parents, friends or a romantic partner, immature people always have a go-to person when they get “in trouble.” If you find that you are solving all your problems by yourself and taking responsibility for your own shortcomings, then you can most definitely call yourself a mature person.
9. You cherish sleep.
Having an active day on half batteries is quite stressful. Lack of sleep causes sloppiness due to lack of concentration and irritability, and it is terrible for the immune system. With maturity comes the realization that you have your limits and need a good night’s sleep in order to perform at you maximum in everything that you do. Still, it takes some time to find the best routine for yourself and if you have problems adjusting, you might want to research this subject a bit. It sometimes has nothing to do with maturity but with the way you get organized, but sometimes even some tech assistance isn’t too bad.
10. You focus on self-improvement.
It has nothing to do with ambition but with the effort of making your own life better. The more things you know and can do, the better person you become and the easier your life gets. You enjoy progressing and opening up new opportunities and situations for yourself. Experience is key and boredom is the enemy, and a mature person realizes that the more you work on your skillset, the more options you have!
11. You respect people who make an effort.
Immature people tend to consider responsible and diligent individuals uptight or overly serious. As you mature, you begin to realize how much passion and energy this kind of devotion actually requires. Furthermore, you want to hear about everyone’s experiences in order to improve yourself. There are tons of things you can learn by simply being patient and listening.
12. You respect yourself more.
Mature people have a more stable personality which isn’t rattled by other people’s opinions. If the time when other people’s approval or disapproval could impact your opinion on your decisions is behind you, then you have grown quite a bit.
13. You have learned to focus more easily.
There is a subtle difference between being a day dreamer and letting your mind wander from your tasks. The former is a part of a creative process while the latter is more of an escape from your obligations. If you tend to zone out when bored by your work or other obligations, then you still have some way to go until you reach maturity. If you have managed to find that “On switch” in your mind that let’s you focus instantly, then don’t worry: you are already there.
14. You respect your work time.
Being lazy during the work hours does nothing for you except that it allows work to leak through into your leisure time. This is quite frustrating since you are constantly under the impression that you need to sit down to take care of your work and you can’t ever really relax. Maturity is knowing that you need to keep work and leisure time separate.
15. You allow yourself to have fun guilt-free.
Finally, the thing that you realize as a mature person is that the best kind of fun comes out of those times when you are really free to enjoy yourself. No nagging voice inside your head is telling you that you shouldn’t be doing something. You are free to relax and enjoy your free time and let yourself go.
Maturity is having control over yourself and your life, taking action and being respectful to others no matter your difference of opinion, religion and other things that seem to outwardly divide people. It has nothing to do with age; it has to do with the mindset of a person and his/her desire to grow and become the best version of him/herself. It is a thing a lot of people don’t achieve their entire lives and is something you need to work on actively.
Reaching maturity is not a moment, it is more of a process and it takes time to get there, but the benefits are pretty good. Don’t overdo it though!
Featured photo credit: meditation by Elissa Eikelboom via Flickr via flickr.com