Our culture claims that we reach adulthood when we are 18. Happy 18th birthday; you were a child yesterday, but today you are an adult.
According to developmental psychology, less than 2% of individuals actually reach mature adulthood.
That means that less than 2% of adults are actually adults.
This doesn’t mean that we’ve all found the fountain of youth and we can be young forever. No, it means that even though we are getting older, we aren’t getting any wiser.
We aren’t young forever, but we do seem to be immature forever.
This is a big problem.
Imagine a world where kids held jobs and made important world-altering decisions, where kids could vote, kids were elected into politics, kids entered into intimate relationships, kids raised children, and on and on.
Imagine the playground drama, pissing matches, arm wrestling, cliques, gossip, pushing, bullying, and childish intimidation. There would be egocentricity, vanity, competition, scarcity, avoidance, denial, lying, and grudges. There would be birthday parties for the worthy, and bathroom beatings for the unworthy. There would be control, manipulation, cheating, and charming. Ugh, it would be high school all over again.
That’s the world we live in. And it explains a lot. Just look around.
Now, it’s easy to point the finger at everyone else, and say that they’re the kids. It’s so easy to spot how our politicians act like kids, or how celebrities act like kids, or even how your spouse, coworkers, friends, and family act like kids.
But what is the transformational value of pointing out everyone else’s immaturity if you can’t spot it in yourself?
As the saying goes, when you point the finger, three point back.
So ask yourself, “Am I an adult?”
Do you believe that people and circumstances are responsible for your feelings, behaviours, and choices?
Do you hold in your feelings, or do you act them out dramatically or violently?
Do you believe that your parents are responsible for where you are today, for better or for worse?
Do you take and hoard things to make you feel secure?
Do you avoid taking a stand because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?
Do you have confusion around what you want? Do you demand it, or do you believe it doesn’t matter?
Do you allow others to beat up on you and make you feel less about yourself?
Do you need others’ affirmations to feel good about yourself?
Do you ever have pity parties?
Do you get worked up about things?
Do you try to gain control over people, situations, and things?
Do you accept things only if they meet a certain criteria you’ve set?
Do you let yourself be controlled by fear, anxiety, anger, or guilt?
As you see, it’s no wonder that only 2% of us are mature adults. I know that I’m not always a mature adult, and I’m sure you feel the same about yourself.
Don’t let this be a stick to beat yourself up with - that would be quite childish. Rather, stand up, put your shoulders back, take a breath, clear your mind, and grow the hell up.
The little things bothering you - put them down.
The big things weighing on you - what can you control?
The dreams you have - take a single step. Then another one.
The person you need to talk to - pick up the phone.
The decision you’ve been putting off - do it.
The relationship you’ve been meaning to mend - apologize.
The overwhelm you’ve been feeling - make a list.
The sluggishness dragging you down - shake it off.
The control you’ve been fighting for - lighten up.
The heartfelt person you want to be - be that.
This is it. This is life. Are you going to respond like a grown-ass-man or -woman? Or are you going to be a kid on the playground, pouting, pushing, and people-pleasing?
This world is in desperate need of adults. But if kids are raising kids, we’re doomed; we can’t wait for the next generation to grow into adults to save us. We have to be the adults now.
Here’s to conquering stress.
The Stress Experts
Sign up to receive inspiration, skills, tools, and tough love right in your inbox each week. Don't worry, we won't share your email address and we're not going to fill up your inbox with junk.
Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
Sign up to receive inspiration, skills, tools, and tough love right in your inbox each week. Don't worry, we don't share your email address and we're not going to fill up your inbox with junk.