Maturity is but a Number


Photo credit: Lauren Arenas © 2013

Three generations of one family pose for a photo. While the ages vary, the maturity of each cannot be determined simply by viewing a photo.

Lauren Arenas, Student Opinion Editor

Modern society seems to have an overwhelming fascination with numbers. Everything is turned into a statistic, and we are all just another factor in the overall equation. In some states, drivers’ permits are given out at age 15. The legal drinking age is 21, and people are considered adults when they reach 18. Why does everything revert back to numbers? It’s because people like to have concrete expectations and realities. Before students even reach college, they are qualified as legal adults. But what makes 18 such a magical number?

The answer: nothing. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that people reach maturity at age 18. In fact, the more research conducted on the subject, the more scholars tend to find that true psychological maturity is not reached until much later in life.

Every person has his or her own mental capabilities, and there are certainly people that are more mature than others, no matter the age. Given my past experiences, I can confirm that maturity cannot be defined by an age. There are situations every day where “adults” act like children. Arguments over politics, religion, or taxes seem so trivial in the big picture. If adults argue just like children then why are they considered mature? Maturity is not as simple as people make it out to be. There are many different aspects to being “mature” that most adults cannot identify with.

Scientists researching maturity have found that although people have been becoming more intelligent at a younger age, they are not advancing as quickly emotionally. People may be book smart, but that doesn’t mean that they’re socially smart.

Given recent research and past personal experiences, I cannot determine what it actually means to be mature. Society gives it a number, psychology bases it off of certain attributes, but there is no distinct definition of maturity. It all depends on society, and what people choose to make of it.