Growing up I always associated maturity with aging. Now, I think maturity comes from experiences and circumstances. It’s become somewhat of a joke that millennials are not able to get full-time 9-to-5 office jobs nowadays. There is a narrative that we are all baristas, waiters or Instagram models. I personally know that many of the people I went to school with are living this life style and are having trouble securing office jobs. Employers claim that they want experienced employees, and no one wants to take a chance on someone fresh out of college to be their first touch-point with experience in their career field.
I, on the other hand, am working in an office setting and have been since I was 21. I have been fortunate to not have the typical life trajectory of the modern-day “young employee.” Because of this, I have been exposed to many things that are generally to be experienced by people much older than myself. I’ve been in situations for which I probably wasn’t ready, but I learned a lot in a trial-by-fire.
Over the last two years I have gained enough financial stability to have a greater level of independence in my personal life. I am not living in a studio with 2-3 roommates; instead, I have a one-bedroom apartment with a dog. I have had to learn a lot and mature as well. Living alone, maintaining an apartment, keeping an animal alive, and handling all my bills and taxes has made me grow up much faster than a lot of the people with whom I went to college. While I do believe that I have always been somewhat of an old soul, I think that my circumstances are largely responsible for the level of maturity with which I conduct myself.
Aside from circumstances, there is a portion of maturing that is a self-driven process. In middle school and high school, I chose to be involved in extracurriculars. I chose to get involved in student government, and I chose to educate myself in and outside of the classroom. I was driven and motivated to push myself to do competitive activities and learn and grow from other people against whom I competed. I attribute competitive activities to a lot of my maturing. These activities taught me dedication, graceful losing, and meaningful winning, and they helped me build my self-confidence about my own creativity, talent, and intelligence. These extracurriculars pushed my boundaries of what was comfortable and forced me to learn more about the world in which I live. I was exposed to different types of people. This broadened my view point and made me more socially and culturally aware.
Continuing to push my boundaries and meet new people has increased my maturity in my adult life as well. One thing that helped being a young adult in an office setting was surrounding myself with people older than me in my personal life. Many of my close friends and acquaintances are five to fifteen years older than me. This has given me the added benefit of being able to learn from their mistakes. The advice that I get from these friends and acquaintances is invaluable to me because it comes from a place of experience.
There are many ways to continue maturing. The best way to accelerate this process is to make it self-driven. Without your own motivation, you will still mature in time, but it will take longer. Being proactive about broadening your horizons and learning new things will kickstart the
process. Associate yourself with the kind of people you want to be, not the kind of people you were/are. These people can help you grow and mature in more ways than you know. These efforts will help you mature and grow into the person you are meant to be. As we move into 2019, determine your goals for the year. What are you going to do to grow, learn and mature this year?