Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I am about to enter my eighteenth year. Upon realizing this threshold, it seems I have developed a fear of actually being “a grown woman.” Even at the age of technical womanhood, I doubt that I’ll feel like I’m responsible or mature enough to think of myself as anything but a little girl. Can you help? With hopes of glamourous adulthood,
A Dear Amyliz:
Whoever said you have to grow up by a certain age? At thirty-two, I’m still not convinced I’m mature, or ever want to be. I still watch Sesame Street. I’d rather shop for toys than clothing. I wish we had nap time at work. Is that so wrong?
Maturity comes in different flavors for different people; you just need to find your own way, glamourous or not. And now onto the old advice ~ here are some additional thoughts about growing up from the one and only Pat Boone, from ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty .
1958: Do It Yourself
What does it really mean to ‘grow up?’
Did you ever think it meant a kind of a Cloud Nine existence where you could run your own show in your own way. Well, ’tain’t so! Remember the wisdom offered by a father whose son wanted to know: ‘When will I be old enough to do as I please?’ And the old man replied: ‘I don’t know. Nobody every lived that long.’
That’s about the size of it.
Our physical growth ~ height, hands, feet (especially feet!) ~ is miraculously taken care of whether we cooperate or not. But the growth we have to concern ourselves with is strictly the do-it-yourself kind. To be really grown-up is to arrive at maturity.
I think we have today potentially the brightest, nicest, most advanced teen-agers ever. Such an authority as Heman G. Stark, Director of the State of California Youth Authority, agrees with this. Says Mr. Stark: ‘On the basis of my thirty years’ experience, I’d say . . . the teen-agers of today are stronger, smarter, more self-sufficient, and more constructive than any other generation of teen-agers in history.’
The big question is, is he talking about a group? Or about you? You can ask, ‘Who, us?‘ Or, ‘Who, me?‘
Your individual growth toward maturity is what you personally are doing to fulfill your all-around potential. The dictionary describes maturity as ‘a state or quality of full development.’
Then a mature person will be the one who has made the most of himself in all departments. A mature teen-ager will be the one who is least distorted by those four teen-age symptoms we mentioned, and can live comfortably and harmoniously with himself and the world. In other words when, at any age, we are useful, happy, well-adjusted individuals, able to give as much as we get ~ we are mature!
Source: Boone, Pat. ‘Twixt Twelve and Twenty: Pat talks to Teenagers. Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1958.
~ pp. 38-39 ~