T-shirts and coffee mugs all over the world have declared “I may be getting old but I don’t have to grow up!”

I see similar sentiments almost daily on Facebook. Somehow we feel like growing up is boring or hard or somehow not cool. This strikes me as something a teenager would say, but not someone who has actually grown up. 

Growing up is good!
Growing up is good!

Truly mature people are happy with themselves and their lives. They treat others with respect, and have enough love for themselves that they can give to others without condition. They have low maintenance needs and few vices, if any. They are honest, and curious, and looking to make a difference.

Immature simply means undeveloped, which is perfectly normal for a child, but not as normal for an adult. It’s a more selfish state and shows up in those moments when you need the world to revolve around you – you need to be right, you need instant gratification, you can’t respect authority, or you can’t accept others as they are.

Most of us have reached a level we have deemed “mature enough.” We have probably exceeded the average standard set by society, decorated with occasional moments of great maturity, and tainted just a little by those other moments of selfishness. Those who have chosen growth as a life path will work through those less mature moments and continue moving toward greater happiness, but most people just stop at “enough.”

“Enough” represents a compromise between childhood issues and the higher self. It’s the limits and beliefs from earlier in life that tempt us to adopt less mature attitudes. Some people have less to overcome, and others have more, but no one makes it all the way to the bliss without clearing them all out.

We can all admit it would be really nice to report to the playground each morning and spend our day playing games and being creative. For the adults who sport those t-shirts and coffee mugs, playtime has been taken away but not replaced with an acceptable substitute.

On the other hand, if you have found your way to an authentic life and are completely fulfilled by your work, then you have no need for the playground. Growing up has allowed you to create things that are meaningful in the world. Growing up doesn’t take away your playfulness – it enhances it with knowledge, experience…and better jokes! But only if you keep working at it.

We can only get so much maturity by aging alone. The rest comes with awareness and a life dedicated to improvement. Look for those moments when your maturity is challenged and heal the issues that keep you there. 

Time to transcend! This blog series is intended to challenge you by reaching beyond the status quo. If you are feeling resistance, consider that your ego is coming forward and presenting you with an opportunity to grow. This is where the magic happens!