Adults in progress

There is this peculiar belief that somewhere between the fourteenth and twenty-first year of your life, you become adult, a fully developed human being.

Since today morning, I’m thirty-seven. There was not a single year when this internal transformation became any faster or significantly different. Though, I’m sure that it can slow down anytime. That’s why the idea of this one-time transformation is so harmful.

I can only laugh about how childish and naive I was in my thirties. And it’s a good laugh. When I go back another seven years, and another, and another, it’s like diving into memories of substantially different people. I’m painfully non-religious, but this type of reincarnation is real, happening right now in our lives.

Not everybody feels that way. Why? I don’t believe there is a single person who does not change. This creepy old man that disgusts you so much, at some point in his life was handsome and funny. Crazy, I know, but staying the same in the entirely different body would be even more strange and creepy. So why not everybody sees that change?

I suppose it’s about identity. The critical part of what we consider ourselves bases on the concept of maturity. The idea that in the first part of your life, you’re a work in progress, until you get a certain level of completeness where your childhood ends. As a child, your responsibilities are limited. You’re allowed to make mistakes, to learn and change. So you do. But it immediately gets much harder since the first time you hear: “Don’t be a child.”

My mother never softened her voice when talked to me in my early years. When I asked her “What does periphrasis mean?” she didn’t smile. She answered. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get rules of childhood “right” and was not stigmatized by them in a typical way. It made me an odd child and a weird adult. Or maybe I was just a tiny bit more aware of how unique and special we all are? Ready for the next seven years, and another, and whatever the lottery has to offer, I hope I’m still less grown than I’m able to be.

Nowadays, every month or two, I see an article about how the recent generation is less mature than their parents. How thirty-somethings behave as they were teenagers. And most importantly, where are those real men? Maybe they’re gone looking for some real women? Or perhaps they just stopped fooling themselves playing fully-developed in their twenties? I hope so. Because it’s an excellent piece of advice to follow.

Stop being complete. You never were. You’re allowed to be in progress. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to change. In fact, you have no power to stop it.

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