Saturday, August 12, 2006


Maturity is a nebulous thing. We're not quite sure just what defines maturity or just when we arrive there (if we ever do; I personally think it's an ongoing process);but we all tend to recognize immaturity quickly enough.

For me, I recognized the beginnings of maturity when I finally realized that my father wasn't so stupid, after all, and that he actually knew what he was talking about on many subjects.

Similarly, I saw glimmers of nascent maturity in myself when I acknowledged that I didn't know everything, and that I would never know everything. Like most young adults, you couldn't tell me anything at eighteen; I thought I had it all figured out. A few years later, with a broken marriage behind me, a child to care for singlehandedly, and still no college degree, I'd lost that mistaken notion forever.

Another sign that one has started down the maturity highway is when a person is no longer impressed and amused by tales about being falling down drunk. Similarly, when long discussions about the merits of various types of alcoholic beverage brands bore the crap out of you, you'll know you're on the right road.

When I was on the police force, we would frequently deal with some young adults repeatedly committing minor, and sometimes not-so-minor crimes. Such crimes typically included DUI, public drunkenness, drug crimes,paint huffing and sometimes more serious charges, such as burglary and forgery.

The usual pattern for most repeat youthful offenders would be for them to be in and out of jail periodically from their late teens for about the next ten years or so. Fortunately, most of them would straighten themselves out at around 30 or so, and we'd not see them any more in a professional capacity. Most would return to school, perhaps get married and start a family, find work, and finally become responsible citizens.

Unfortunately, the ones who hadn't straightened themselves out by age thirty tended to never do so and would spend the rest of their lives involved with the criminal justice system. Of course, there were and are exceptions, but thirty was the typical "moment of truth" for most people.

This is by no means a complete consideration of the idea of maturity, but this is what immediately came to mind for me in the middle of the night. I'd be curious to hear your take on the subject.

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