I hear the words ‘maturity’ and ‘growing up’ bandied about as people leave the ‘wild’ days of their youth behind and begin taking out mortgages and having children.

Some elucidate, in the most condescending way possible, how they gave up alcohol and now only eat whole-grain, which is of course only half-way there because any responsible adult is one hundred percent gluten-free.

For these people, ‘growing up’, actually means becoming even more narrow-minded in the opposite direction of their youth, but narrow-minded nonetheless.

They claim that having a child now means they are grown. Well, I know a woman with fifteen children who is the most irresponsible, illogical, person I have ever met. I know four years old more responsible than her.

However, it would be irresponsible of me to say age is nothing but a number. Considering sticky age-of-consent issues, which are fourteen in some states while eighteen in others, as well as the fact that men who are raped by women are not taken as seriously in our society, biologically, the prefrontal cortex, which control impulse and decision making, does not fully develop until we are 25-30 years old.

Some say this is a 100,000 year evolutionary carry over of our days on the Savannah of Africa. Living to the ripe old age of 30 meant we had to be more welcoming of risk, as well as starting families at 15. The elders who survived helped the tribe’s knowledge depth, while that ‘crazy’ 15 year old would be more likely to try to domesticate that wild ancestor of the cow, or go into the unknown and settle a new continent.

What I am trying to say in a roundabout manner, is that there are no milestones in life that suddenly make one a ‘grown up’. We all grow older. I am averse to any concept of a ‘grown up’. There are responsible people, and irresponsible people. Some of us are on a sliding scale, or a spectrum, which changes year to year and day to day.

Adults should be held responsible for life choices, but not having a child because I know I cannot afford one actually making me more ‘grown up’ than the people who have several knowing they cannot give this innocent child the quality of life the child deserves.

So anyone who tells me I am not ‘grown up’ because I am 28 and I still prioritize socializing with my friends, not having children until I am ready, not becoming attached to material possessions I do not need, or drinking responsibly, I say, in their own language, that they need to ‘grow up’.

However, in my language, I would advise them that everyone’s path in life is different, and that it is irresponsible to try and make others fit into their mold of life goals. That is theirs alone, but wish us all luck on a satisfying and fruitful path of giving, love, acceptance, and tolerance.

Wisdom and age do not necessarily go hand in hand. Feel free to quote me on that.

-VR Bacot-Davis

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