You may wonder why this topic is included as a ‘means to loving more’. Isn’t maturity old age? As in ‘the large oak tree is mature’? Or “He is maturing gracefully” … becoming an old geezer without complaining. But you also hear “She is mature beyond her years”. What does this mean? Teresa is twelve but acts thirty. Huh? Is this a good thing? Has Teresa abandoned childhood too early? Not playing with her dolls anymore. Asking questions about the state of the world, the inequities, injustices. Mmm. Some young people are not content with just the mundane. They are concerned with more profound pursuits. Could this be the perennial mindset of the naïve? A penchant for wanting to change the world? Or much needed youthful honesty and enthusiasm being directed towards soluble problems? A renewal of values eschewed by the jaded, cherished by people who care? Mmm again. Ponder, ponder.

“Life’s travails are incessant” you say. “There will always be pain and suffering” … brought on by nature’s assaults and human degradation, predation. True. But should we not rail against these? Find solutions? Demand changes? And isn’t it helpful to know what your resources are in dealing with the many daunting infirmities, inequities … evident everywhere … even personally?

So … where are we with maturity? How does maturation tie into these grandiose yearnings? Consider: In order to deal effectively with solving problems you must educate yourself. This takes some time … and experience. Of course, everyone progresses at his or her own pace. But however long it takes, you gradually develop inner resources to cope with life’s many challenges. You mature in a variety of ways.

Knowing yourself is important … never ending personal assessments. Your strengths and weaknesses, your talents and ineptitudes, your desires and fears: These inform your judgment as to what you should pursue. Rather foolish to become a mountain climber when heights make you dizzy and your limbs ignore your entreaties. The sooner you ‘grasp’ YOUR reality, both physically and psychologically, the easier it is to set attainable goals. You can easily waste time pursuing a grandiose scheme, becoming a ‘super’ salesperson for example, while ignoring serious impediments: Your honesty and humility.

Other areas of maturation that are vital for ‘self-actualization’ and self-improvement: Finding ways to sustain a positive attitude, accepting and ‘managing’ your emotions, becoming more sensitive to others, ‘opening your mind’ to new experiences … taste for food, appreciation of art. You may spend years searching for what truly satisfies you, ‘completes’ you. How long must you live before you find inner peace and contentment??

Your outlook on life and those ‘passing through your radar’ will change … sometimes gradually … religion and its acolytes for example … and occasionally with a jolt … a violent temper unleashing vitriol: This can alter your opinion of someone instantly. As you change you develop values and the ‘strength of character’ to rely on them … to uphold them. Kindness and considerateness of others, all others … this is part of a mature accepting attitude that you probably must ‘work on’. Too easy to denigrate ‘the lesser’ folks. You enjoy feeling superior. Inflating ego is enjoyable.

Awareness and appreciation of what you encounter daily is another form of maturation. It is so easy to become habituated with an infantile self-centered complacency: You know enough, you have ‘arrived’, you are safe and comfy in your ‘little box’. Oh boy, how difficult is it going to be to acquire some wisdom with this attitude?? To be receptive and take the opportunities to grow??

In a society that reveres youth, it is a formidable challenge to instill a respect for the ‘wise old person’. With ‘vanity obsessions’ and trivial pursuits it is no wonder that much of the Western World mucks ‘round ‘tepid pools’ spawning crass ineptitude in the guise of expediency and worthy pleasures. Oblivion awaits such folly. The only hope: Grasping the reality of what you are and what you are about … to begin MATURING as a society. Lotsa luck!!



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.