So, which is it? Can we choose one or the other? It seems one comes more naturally than the other. Actually, I am getting better and better at aging, if accumulating additional years translates into getting better and better. Is that because I am getting more and more experience in the fine art of aging?
I am becoming quite accomplished in the aging process. But then, a primary meaning of accomplished is completed, and my aging process seems to be ongoing, rather than being completed. As you can imagine, I’m happy to continue the aging process.
It seems to be my experience that aging comes rather naturally for me, rather than requiring any special effort on my part. I guess I don’t really give aging much thought, except for the effects it has upon me. My body complains more frequently and with increasing severity.
My brain is certainly less responsive and reaches conclusions with greater doubt and hesitancy than it did in earlier years. Sometimes my mind appears to be in a fog and tries to grope for clarity. Occasionally, it succeeds.
These characteristics seem to be directly related to aging. What about maturity? Maturity does not seem to be as clear-cut as aging.
Aging is rather apparent and easily tracked on a calendar, calculator, or scratch pad. It is simply a matter of accumulating a number of days, weeks, months, and years. No special skills are required beyond the ability to keep track of the increasing number of whatever units of measurement you decide to use.
Maturity, on the other hand, is not so easily measured. Let’s define maturity as a full and complete development of mind and emotions, an understanding of life and experiences that utilizes discretion and wisdom.
It may be that maturity is more easily recognized than it is defined. A mature person is most frequently in control of his/her thoughts and emotions. A mature person is not usually subject to extreme emotional outbursts.
A mature person is dependable, persistent, trustworthy, and in possession of many other desirable qualities. People who are mature are considerate of others, and others are attracted to them and enjoy being around them.
Mature people are not self-centered. They don’t harbor or cherish insults or hurts. They are focused on looking out for other people and finding ways of making someone else’s life more pleasant.
Mature people have found the secret of a happy life: looking out for ways to benefit someone else who needs encouragement. The biblical message
"it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) is a good reminder as we mature.
Another indication of a mature person is his or her ability to not act or react impulsively but to consider all options before making a decision or taking action. If we learn from the "university of hard knocks," we can make judgments that are more informed and which are based on the consensus of multiple sources as the right choice.
This, perhaps, is a hard one for those of us who want things done quickly and act accordingly. But the extra time it takes to make a good choice turns out to be well worth the effort, and again, is a sign of maturity.
My goal is to be a mature person. I'm sure that's your goal, too.
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