How old is old enough? When I was 17, I thought 18 was old enough to be allowed to drink legally. After all, I had been irresponsibly drinking since I was 15. At 19, I enlisted in the Navy. I needed no one's permission to do so. I could commit the next 4 years of my life to the military but I could not walk into a bar and order a beer. Nor, at that time, enter into a contract for a loan without an adult to co-sign.
I was not the only one to feel slighted by this. All of my like-aged friends felt the same way.
I grew older and began to alter my views somewhat. The age of majority is an arbitrary one. Not all people aged 21 or older are responsible adults. Nothing magical happens on that particular anniversary of our birth that causes the decisions we make to be any better than the ones we made the day before. I can readily attest to that since I have made plenty of bad mistakes after achieving that milestone.
A term popped into my head while writing this post....cognitive maturity. I cannot even found a reasonable definition for the term while, at the same time, I can find any number of papers and research which mention it. Go ahead, Google it for yourself... I'll wait. I think the problem lies in the word maturity. I am not sure what that means either.
Teenage girls think teenage boys aren't mature. The acne and awkwardness might have something to do with it. Whereas teenage girls are assumed to be more mature than the boys. But that changes when they are out of their teens, doesn't it?. Women do not want to be thought of as mature, do they? It envisions a graying, sagging, slightly overweight Mom type.
So, what might be cognitive maturity? The ability to make rational decisions, you might say, decisions that take into account the possible consequences. Really? If that is so, then a tiny few ever achieve that level. Don't believe me, just look around you. We both know that there are a lot of people who do not seem to think ahead by more than a minute (if that far).
Not us, of course, not you and I. We are mature. We weigh all the foreseeable (and some barely possible) consequences of our decisions before deciding, don't we? It's those other people that we worry about. The ones that text while driving. That guy in his 60's with the earring and riding that Harley. Your boss. Your spouse. Especially the spouse who opposes your buying that Harley... and the earring. Or the tattoo. Just because she doesn't think she wants to hang on the back while you pretend to be a mature Marlon Brando in Wild One or make that motorcycle trek across the country you've wanted to do since you were 23.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago