Remember when people used to say you were mature for your age? You were graciously christened with this diminutive title by the adults in your life because of your slightly advanced vocabulary, voracious reading habits and your wild imagination. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging your intellect, this idea of being wise beyond your years made you try and grow up a little faster than life had intended. Flash forward to five years later and here I am, asking for a way to redo everything at a slower pace.
So, here’s my piece of advice for now: slow down. Absorb each moment. Write in your diary and fondly recount each day before you sleep. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and stroll to the bus stop instead of sprinting in haste. Spend time with your parents while your hormones aren’t too uncontrollable and force you to pick fights with them. Just be present in the Now.
Maybe you’ve been trying to overcompensate intellectually for being a late bloomer. You chase this idea of maturity and growth, but what you fail to realise is that growth is inevitable. Maturity is derived from human experience, but if you fail to experience the simplicity of moments that encompass and embrace you, you fail to attain it. Nevertheless, you grow. You grow, and you realise the importance of such experiences eventually, even if it’s five years later than you should have.
So, Aadira, let go of your expectations and unfair standards. Embrace the world around you and shift your focus, from being better in comparison to other people of your age, to cultivating the quality of your life experiences. Reject the external validation that the world encourages you to be seeking. And the next time someone tells you that you’re mature for your age, tell them that your age doesn’t define your maturity.
Perhaps you wish to ask the question: am I mature for my age now, at seventeen? The truth is that I don’t know; by becoming aware of simple experience, I have become unbothered by the idea of attaining maturity itself. I still have my baby face, and I definitely still enjoy creating my imaginary worlds. It is therefore possible that I am not, in fact, mature for my age. I’m still the same as I was five years ago in many ways; but have I grown since I rejected the idea?
Arguably, more than before.
You, just a little bit older.