Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I've wondered lately - when does one grow up and become "mature". What do we mean by mature anyway? There seem to be large cluster of necessary attributes for maturity and wisdom- large, vague and sometimes self contradictory.

Its a bit disconcerting to realise, that as the years roll by, although you can see the change in yourself, you can't always assume more 'maturity'. Its a realisation borne out not only by your own experiances, but additionally reinforced by the people much older than you. Nah, they don't seem to be a great deal wiser than some of the youngsters around.

So does older and wiser always hold up? I don't think so anymore. Yes there are some attributes typically associated with youth, and some with age. And yes there are some things we learn with age, but those changes are mostly due to the experiances life doles out to you, and perhaps a few due to the body and mind slowing down.

I think one of the most defining moments was when I realised how stubborn we get , and how set in our ways, as we grow older. Its a strange stubbornness, quite unlike a child's. For a while I thought, it was just me. Then I looked around and saw, that the worst offenders were the 50-60 years olds. And then I began to see other tell tale signs, growing in me, and well established in people much older - signs which seem the opposite of maturity.

Yes, some people seem very reasonable and mature ( again by the wierdly vague standards) but I think thats usually more to do with their temperament to begin with, and very little to do with age. And then of course, we all do have small pockets of intelligence, which perhaps we manage to hold on to.

But all in all, rather depressing to think that as we log in the years, no magical wisdom and maturity will come on a silver platter. Chances are the downslide will begin, and we'd actually need to work harder to fight it!



veena said...

As you said, age brings in experience from having lived longer.......from having succeeded and also having had a chance to fail. Acceptance that things cannot also be the way you want them to be. Stubborn comes from resisting change because you get so set in your ways.

Tess said...

@Veena - I'm not sure age by itself bring much.. you can live your life by closing out the world, and keep counting the years, and I'd argue that you'd still have less of the attributes associated with maturity, than a 25 year old who's been thrown into the bustle of the world, and who's been more willing to learn.

We might acquire very small pockets of knowledge, but in the larger scheme of things I disagree with the generic "older wiser" thought. I don't think I respect age much. Experiances and your response to them , yes, age by itself - no.