Maturity, what an interesting word, isn’t it? My puppy is physically mature at the age of one, but won’t be mentally mature until closer to two. Typical boy, right?
Libby directed my attention to an article called The Rush to Maturity. She wrote her own response to it and invited me and Katie to do the same. So, instead of home-decor-related adventures, today you, dear readers, shall get a dose of self-related adventures. Feel free to skip if you’re craving something shallow. Not all bloggers do this. I might over-share big time,but things are about to get “real” and if you’re down with that, you may come along for the ride.
The above-mentioned article discusses the Middle School Girl of today skanking it up because that is what they see their media role models (and probably big sisters and other older females) doing. I’m not going to say I’ve noticed it, here in Kansas, at least, since I don’t pay that much attention to middle school students. I did notice it in a more exaggerated way in California (“Daisy dukes, bikinis on top…”). I can attest to the fact that it is becoming increasingly harder and harder to tell the age of people younger than me–to differentiate between middle school, high school, and college–the lines are extremely blurry. It’s a “gradient” effect. This may be a result of my own aging, and the result of dress trends, or (most likely) a combination of these two factors.
If you knew my 6th grade self and my 7th grade self, you knew two different people. There are layers to why this happened. The first layer was the fact that I moved between those school years. The summer of 1999 was a huge turning point. I had lots of cool friends from 6th grade and I had more self-confidence than I’d had at any point of my still-quite-young existence. I dressed almost like a tomboy–with huge baggy jeans that were all the rage and tight 70s-inspired striped shirts. My shoulder-length blonde hair fell to a part in the middle and I looked like the lost female member of Hanson. I had plenty of access to make-up, since my mom sold Mary Kay (samples galore) but had very little interest in it. Then we moved. To California. Suddenly my overalls, big t-shirts, and sock-with-sandals motif was a fashion nightmare. It was all about tiny tops and short shorts, tight jeans and Brand Names. When I rattled off a list of coveted brands to my Colorado friends–Hurley, Roxy, Volcom, DVS–I was met with giant question marks. Ah, the days before the internet.
I immediately knew I was a resident of loserville and something had to be done. I knew what was “cool” but I didn’t know how to acquire it. The price tag was a huge deal. I had plenty of good clothes that fit well, my parents weren’t willing to buy me a whole new wardrobe–with good reason–those brands cost an arm and a leg! I fell into a close-knit group of friends, all of whom I still love dearly but we all knew we weren’t in league the “cool” kids. We had our niche and a good group of friends, and looking back on it, that was much healthier than having shallow connections and trying to impress the “cool” girls so they’d be our “friends.” I suppose that was my first little jump into maturity, my eyes were opened more than ever to the class warfare of middle school.
Fast forward to 2011. I am more self-confident than I have been in my whole life. I get pangs of insecurity when people take jabs at me about giving up California for Kansas, but I am seriously owning this “Kansas” thing. I finally got a good job, I have tons of friends and a great husband. But maturity is in the forefront of my mind more than it has been in years. I keep feeling like I need to act older. Be older. Set up a 401(k). Stop making foolish decisions. Have “standing appointments” for things. Make lots of money. Have “colleagues” instead of friends. I am only 23! Some of my peers are still living with their parents. To each his own. But in this respect, I feel like the girls in the article. Dying to be older, be more responsible, have a more “glamorous” life (obviously this word is interpreted differently according to age range). I suppose I need to settle, be comfortable in the “in-between” moments in life, that middle school and early 20s both happen to encompass. You’ve departed, but not yet arrived. Not quite young, not quite old.
To be content in the “now” is something incredibly hard for most people, but, from what I can imagine, must be pretty nice. Free. Relaxing.
Check back tomorrow for a new-house-related post. Renting a house instead of an apartment. Maybe I am growing up.