Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. – C. S. Lewis
Sometimes at work I don’t have much to do. Usually I have a book or a writing project with which to pass the time, but for a while, in need of a little variety, I printed out geometric designs and took colored pencils and spent my spare time coloring.
On once such day, there was a 10-ish-year-old girl wandering around waiting for her dad to pick her up. She came to see what I was doing, and she seemed bored, so in an attempt to make a bit of conversation, I asked if she liked coloring. “Not anymore,” she replied.
To some extent, most kids and teenagers (and sometimes adults) go through a period of avoiding “childish” things because it makes them feel more grown up. And that’s fine. But in the long run, I don’t think that’s what maturity is at all. Maturity is knowing when it’s okay to do childish things.
Coloring is fine. But coloring would not be okay if I was doing it when I had things to do at work. Singing silly, repetitive songs is fine. But thoughtlessly singing silly, repetitive songs until I’m driving everyone around me crazy would not be right. Acting ridiculously with my friends is fine. But acting ridiculously at a formal interview would be irresponsible.
Maturity isn’t so much getting over being a child. It’s learning when it’s okay to be a child – and then applying your knowledge.