The idea of maturity conveys mixed messages. To young people enjoying life with freedom from rules and responsibilities, maturity is a state to be avoided. Maturity is conventional and boring. On the other hand, no-one wants to be considered immature. So is there a positive appealing definition of maturity?
Biologically, maturity means that all living functions have reached their full capability. Holistic maturity means that we’ve reached our full potential physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. When we think of a mature tree, we think of a tree which has reached majestic proportions, has healthy foliage, blossoms in season, and produces a good crop of rich fruit.
So maturity means full development of every potential we possess. It also means the creative expression of that potential, like the leaves, flowers and fruit of the tree. Maturity matches that creativity with an awareness of reality. There are limits, there are disappointments, there are failures. These constrain the scope for creativity, but they don’t disable it. Maturity develops strategies which recognise reality. In so doing, it harnesses the wisdom which is its natural partner. Finally, maturity accepts responsibility. It makes a contribution from its creativity, and then accepts responsibility for whatever that contribution may be.
But none of this excludes the fun, joy and freedom so prized by the young. Maturity doesn’t have to be conventional and boring!