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I Don't Want to Adult Today!

- by Tracey Baxter, Certified Educator (Dibbles Institute) What does it mean to be mature? Your older; you know things; you had a lot of experiences? Nope. A person can live to 100, hold a PhD in astrophysics, and boast some of the most amazing experiences anyone can think of and still have failed to mature as a person.

If you Google the word “mature”, these definitions pop up:


1. fully developed physically; full-grown.

2. having reached the most advanced stage in a process.


1. (of an organism) become physically mature.

2. (of an insurance policy, security, etc.) reach the end of its term and hence become payable.

For today, we’ll discuss the second adjective definition—having reached the most advanced stage in a process.

In our day and age people have developed this, shall we say, microwave culture. “I want what I want, and I want it now”. Ever heard the phrase “follow your heart”? How about “carpe diem”? Oh, and then there’s my favorite, YOLO (you only live once). Great advice, right? I wonder how well these mottos have worked for others.

A close friend of mine followed her heart once. Then twice. Then again. Oh, but this time (number 4) it is sure to work out! After all, she is older now. Never mind the fact that she falls in love and follows her heart after only knowing a person for a couple of weeks. And did I mention that this time he’s even taking her out on a date, just as soon as this quarantine business is finished, that is. Imagine, a real date, with a sit-down dinner and everything! Truly, it must be love! I have to wonder if her future baby-daddy is just following his heart as well. Guys are just as eager to live out the Disney fairytale as the ladies are. Oh, come on boys. You know it’s true.

I have a fun exercise for you. Take a minute and try to predict how the above situation is likely to end up. If you have the foresight to see the impending doom this relationship is likely to suffer, then you should also be able to notice the positive and negative patterns in your own relationship choices.

What about carpe diem? Seize the day! Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what does that really mean? Probably not what you think. The saying is meant to encourage people to make the most out of today rather than dwelling on the future. Or, don’t worry about tomorrow just yet. Do what you need to and get through today. The idea is similar to “don’t worry about the things you cannot change. Just deal with the things you can do something about today”. So, you see, when someone throws out the saying, carpe diem, and uses it as an excuse to do something that may prove to be a bad move, they aren’t even using the phrase correctly! Yeah, I wanna follow that guy…not!

Let’s not forget the very mature idea that “you only live once”. Of course, you only live once! So, don’t screw it up! Whatever you do in life, you will have to live with the consequences for your entire, one and only life. If this was a video game and we had unlimited lives, that might be different. But this is reality, not a game. And the repercussions for our actions have the power to help or hurt ourselves and others.

So, what does it mean to be mature? It means taking the time to think before acting. It means stopping to consider what the effects of our actions might be. Maturity means to “adult”. You’re going to grow up. Remember the movie Hook? Even Peter Pan got tired of being a lost boy. Everyone has a choice to grow up and mature or grow up and be the pro-gamer who never sees a paycheck, lives in their parent’s basement, and is addicted to Mt. Dew, Cheetos, and Fortnite. Not a sexy image guys and gals.

When you develop skills for self-control, that says a lot about your character. What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want others to see you? What do you hope to see when you look in the mirror? I suppose some of you might be thinking, “why should I care what others think of me?” Well, it is good not to let other people’s opinions shape your self-worth. But, many of those other people are going to be your future professors, co-workers, supervisors, employers, or in-laws. You may find life to be a bit nicer if you consider how you project yourself to others. If these people see you as a mature and reliable person of great character, you’re more likely to find bonuses, promotions, and family gathering to be more plentiful and enjoyable. What do you think happens to the kid who lives in the basement? No job, no future plans, no education to speak of, no boyfriend or girlfriend, and a serious vitamin D deficiency. Don’t be that person. Maturity produces success. So, grow up and enjoy the process. You’ll find it’s way more fun than Fortnite!


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THINK TWICE Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Initiative is supported by the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Grant #: 90TS00230100.
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