Putting Away Childish Things… (a rant)

For most of my twenties I had the sneakiest, underlying suspicion that all adults felt like children trying to play the role of an adult. I never felt as grown up as some of my responsibilities seemed to imply I should feel. I always felt like I was getting older….but not necessarily grown up….

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However, the past year I have felt a difference – a shift – and it has got me thinking a lot about how exactly we define maturity. Is maturity having a stable job and income? Is it graduating with a college degree? Is maturity living on your own? Owning a home? Paying for things like sewer and trash pick up? Is maturity getting married? Having kids? Is maturity leaving childish things behind and, if so, what exactly constitutes “childish things” and who gets to make that determination?

The whole not having kids thing has certainly made me feel like I am “behind” in this thing called adulthood. Not that we’re racing, but that I have somehow not crossed a threshold of mature womanhood as have 99% of my friends. It also gives people the assumption that they can butt into your life with a host of very personal questions and still feel like they had every right to do so. Every time someone ask me if I have “any news” yet, it just reinforces the pain and overwhelming feeling that I am not measuring up as an adult – as a woman. To those people I say: READ THIS. Do it. For my sake and the sake of others, stop what you’re doing and READ THIS.

Last night Chad and I read through a Facebook rant between my Aunt, my cousin, my Uncle, and this random lady I don’t know. I don’t want to make light of the argument that occurred, but considering the topic how can I not? The whole conversation was so over-the-top ridiculous and a primary reason why I’ve gotten off Facebook. Not that my cousin could avoid being attacked for petty things, but that someone would attack her at all. People feel that the internet empowers them to say exactly what they’re thinking without any consequences or repercussions and that simply isn’t so. I will even go as far to say that it is an immature mind that not only causes strife over petty things, but also hides behind the internet to be condescending and rude.

The argument was over whether or not a mature adult should like things that are considered by some to be childish toys/icons for children. In this case, it was Hello Kitty, which has remained popular for a very long time with both children and adults, but seems to have especially risen in popularity in America in the past 10 years or so. (Always popular mind you – just even more so nowadays).

What are your thoughts? Can a mature adult collect Hello Kitty items/clothing? Can a grown up adult consider themselves actually grown up if they still enjoy youthful iconic cartoon characters?

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My personal opinion?

Yes.
Absolutely.

Here’s why:
There are so many other factors of far greater value evident in a person’s life that can determine maturity or the lack thereof. Whether a woman wears a Hello Kitty shirt is hardly the standard. In my own life and in the lives of those around me, I evaluate someone’s maturity (or immaturity) on one very important, often over-looked factor: someone’s capacity for awareness.

Awareness: noun. – Having knowledge or cognizance. To be watchful and vigilant.

How many adults do you know who have jobs and homes and careers and yet trample the people around them in their pursuits? How many married couples do you know (with or without children) who take others for granted or ignore the most obvious signs that their self-absorbed world is actually hurting others?
On the same note, how many children, teens, or young adults do you know who seem mature despite the fact that they lack the “evidence” of adulthood (career, home, spouse, etc) because they treat others with respect; they don’t steal other’s dignity over petty things; they overlook offenses; they forgive and forget and strive for peace; they aren’t quick to defend themselves, but quick to listen, etc??

So if you like Barbies or Hello Kitty or Garfield and your entire house and wardrobe resembles this – who cares?? Seriously. Why is this even a point worth arguing? Why should anyone even have the audacity to look at someone else and judge their maturity-level by outward appearances? If anything, the person judging has become the person being immature and petty.

Aside from rants and egregious arguments altogether, the question we should be asking when evaluating our own maturity is this: Do I think the world revolves around me or am I aware of the living, breathing, hurting, over-worked, stressed, tired human beings around me?? Does each thing in my day annoy me because it inconveniences me or can I remain patient in the middle of bumper-to-bumper traffic because I am aware that up ahead is a car accident that is costing someone dearly? Can I remain selfless and loving when a mother is dong her best to console/tolerate her screaming child in the store because I am aware that this might be her only chance to purchase diapers for the week despite it being way past her son’s bedtime?? Can I overlook someone’s bad attitude at work because I am aware that today might just be a bad day for them and we’re all human? And that is the point: we. are. all. human.

Being an adult is not about the clothes you wear (unless you’re in a 9-5 job interview haha) and it makes no difference whether or not you like Hello Kitty or the NFL or gourmet cooking. Being an adult is being able to go through life fully aware that the people around you are people with the same capacity for love and pain as you. They do not want you judging them. They do not want you bullying them. They do not want you prying into whether or not they’re going to get married, have children, or “what they’re doing next with their lives.” They certainly don’t need you overlooking them and trampling them into the grounds while you selfishly pursue your life.

They need love. They need patience. They need compassion. They need you to be aware of them, see them, hear the things their eyes are saying, and acknowledge them.

So let’s put away these childish things and choose instead to live life fully aware. Let’s be watchful and vigilant for those around us and focus less on ourselves and our own personal grievances…

I’d love to know your thoughts on this!! Please feel free to comment below…. 🙂

THIS VIDEO IS AN EXCELLENT ADDITION TO THIS POST!

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Growing Up

I am officially less than 6 months away from turning 30 and like every natural cliche, it has made me think a lot about what it means to grow up. We all know people who are considered adults who never seem to be able to act like one. We also have known those few (and what I would consider beautiful) souls who have been somewhat more mature than others despite their age – even since childhood. Six (years) going on thirty, if you will.

There are certain markers that imprint on someone who has come of age and transitioned into adulthood. Unfortunately for some, they will never make it. Many outside factors need to happen in order for someone to successfully evolve into a mature, capable adult. Now, I am not an expert by any means – I’m just speaking in general terms. If you look at any Coming-of-age literature or young adult literature, the protagonist typically encounters various trials that help him/her to discover what they’re capable of, see the world in a new light, find their inherent gifts and purpose, etc.

So in term of generalities and my varied observations, here are two things that I think  are indicators of being officially grown up – or at least on your way. 🙂

As I have encountered challenges in my life, they have all forced me to view myself in an accurate manner. Sometimes because I am my mother’s daughter and, therefore, very stubborn it took numerous times for me to finally “get” whatever I was missing. I finally realized just how utterly and appallingly HUMAN I can be. I was self-centered, unforgiving, callous, over emotional, etc – and it took several trial and error circumstances for me to even wake up and notice it. Eventually, God was able to open my stubborn eyes and allow me to see myself as I really was in an effort to help me begin the process of removing these negative and immature characteristics from my life.

Now, I am certainly not fully “there” and I often fall back into old ways, but the point I am trying to make lies in the maturity that just comes with awareness. Think about it, most of the adults who act like children you might know… aren’t they all in some way or another completely oblivious or unwilling to admit the ways in which they continue to act like a child? Someone who does not see their flaws or is unwilling to admit to them can never move beyond them.

Perhaps an even more important characteristic of a maturing person is the ability to see the big picture when it comes to people.

Every person is a unique individual who has a specific background that they’ve viewed from a personal lens no one else can see through. How well are you able to see where other people are coming from? How easily can you put yourself in other people’s shoes?


To me, one of the greatest marks of an immature person is the inability to think, see, or feel outside of themselves. They’re easily put off, offended, and defensive. Think about how often you have gotten upset at someone because they didn’t respond to something the way you would have? Or because they were hurt over something you felt was no big deal? Maybe they don’t respond to things that way because they had an Aunt when they were little who did and it always came across negatively? Maybe they were hurt by something you wouldn’t have been because all they heard growing up was that they weren’t good enough, or that their opinion didn’t matter – etc.

Each person has a story. It’s never the same as yours, even if you grew up with the same family, friends, school, socioeconomic background, or religion. I am not trying to say that opinions can’t be conflicting because they certainly can! I am really trying to address how we interact with people.

The other day I got SO MAD at this driver who was riding my bumper for over 2 miles. It feels like bullying when people do that and one of the things I don’t handle very well is bullying. This is because in MY story, I have always had a tendency to get picked on and it’s made me quite sensitive to it. BUT then that driver passed me and I saw that it was a Mom with a bunch of little kids in the backseat. It made me stop and consider that maybe she was rushing to get home because her kids were overtired and exhausting her. Maybe she was an only child and she has never easily managed the stress of loud or chaotic environments. I really have no idea. Isn’t that the point? She could just have been a rude driver, but I just have no idea? We don’t ever really know where people are coming from until we stop to take the time to find out.

That is growing up. Growing up means it can’t all be about you. Growing up means other people eventually have to start to matter. Growing up means being aware of your own short comings and showing grace when other people come up short.

Growing up is about gaining perspective.

What about you?? What do you think are the indicators of a maturing person??