Can you think back to your first decision that made you feel all grown up? On that made you feel as if you knew what you were doing, or at least were getting yourself into something much bigger than you? I am sure that you remember! Unless it was a good experience, it might be hard to go back in time and feel the nerves or courage. There are a few things that remind us how much we don’t know or hopefully how far we have gone.
The first memorable moment regarding decisions was when I went to college. I was in my second semester, and walking out of my Spanish class, something hit me and I understood that I was on my own now, and what I got from school was all up to me. There were no conferences with parents. There was no validation of my presence in classes. There were very little second chances. If I didn’t do well, my grades will show it and the established procedures would be followed without an exception. The thought of my life being in my hands weighed on my shoulders and I did not want to disappoint myself, so I worked hard to do well.
Responding responsibly when moving into a different period in life was an obvious maturing signal for me. Here are some other different aspects of life that can show where we are in the maturity level:
How about spending money? That’s an easy one! Have you had to decide to go somewhere or stay home to save? You might have had to do it for survival or to stick to a plan. It is hard to say no to our desires when we finally may have a way to fund them or just don’t want to care about responsibility of all. Living only with what we have and honoring our plans demonstrates that we can handle money, and not the other way around.
Another maturing signal is being more selective on who to hang out with. Growing up we mostly care about having company and we just make friends with anyone in our vicinity. As time passes, we start to mostly stick around those that have qualities that we find attractive, for our own good or bad. There comes a point when we realize that the people we call friends might not have a good influence on us or are the people that we can always rely on. Having a good time is no longer the top priority. Companionship is still key but the main goal now is trust and support. Knowing when to trust or distance ourselves reflects healthy boundaries on our side.
What about taking responsibility of yourself? There might be an opportunity that in the past you would’ve jumped into with your eyes closed. Now, you consider many factors before taking a step, and even are okay with the outcome. The same process can be applied to people in our lives and their decisions. Recognizing our limited power over their lives and how some things aren’t about us liberates us.
These items just scrape the surface on important elements in our lives. We could dive into self-care, relationships with family, career, etc. The key is that we need to recognize our responsibility in our lives, and stay consistent to the plans that we have set out in order to accomplish our goals. Being irresponsible might feel good at the moment, and might allow us to have fun or keep someone quiet, but in the long term, it will catch up with us and we will have to pay. It is better to pay a little bit up front and get large dividends, than to skip through life and have to pay a high debt with high interest in the end.