A few weeks ago, I was scribbling a note on the blank space of the last page of a short story written by someone from the students’ association. It went something like this: “the heroine’s actions seem random, there’s no pattern to them… that might signify immaturity (and I don’t mean there’s anything wrong with immaturity!).”
At that, I wondered why I should feel the need to explain that there is nothing wrong with immaturity – that, in other words, immaturity isn’t a fault.
It’s as plain as the nose on your face: you will probably agree that the word “immaturity” can justifiably be understood as describing a phase of life preceding maturity. A phase of life, not a personality trait – yet we usually use this word to describe the latter, most often to summarize somebody who did something stupid which we didn’t much like.
But if we give it a little thought… immaturity in the latter sense of “personality trait” may well dominate someone’s behaviour in both the immature and the mature phase of life. Well, then?
We all make mistakes and, very often, have a hard time finding the right paths for ourselves. But even if we keep blundering, does that mean we should get summed up as “immature”? Does that mean our lovely mistakes, the time we spend deciding on the right course of action only to choose the wrong one, our troubles, worries, and profuse amounts of acting out should be dismissed as unimportant?
Do you know what age slot Erikson designated as the maturity phase? It was 65+. That’s just to (randomly) quote an authority before I proceed with a piece of unsolicited advice to make your lives perhaps a bit less plagued by worry:
Maturing is a slow process. It’s okay if you haven’t yet mastered all the skills that come with it, like wise decision making, or good time management. It’s okay if you don’t know how you’d behave in each and every kind of situation. It’s okay if you’re not ready to take up all responsibilities that someone may expect you to take. Remember: life is not a race.
And, by the way… don’t you think there’s something inherently awesome about immaturity? You can act random like the heroine from the story I mentioned, and it’s just the natural way you act. And then, as that phase passes, you learn more and more about the kind of behaviour that suits you. You make choices about what responsibilities you want to take up. You basically learn and learn, and learn some more.
Personally, I wanna keep being slightly immature indefinitely.