Are you Emotionally Mature?
Yesterday a good friend of mine recommended Marian Keyes new book ‘Grown Ups’ to me. I don’t really know much about Marian Keyes or her books, but I was immediately thrilled that I’d listened to the Fortunately Podcast on which Marian Keyes had been the guest, actually discussing her new book. The reason for my delight was that I could casually mention this to my friend and thus look, or so I thought, semi-intelligent and knowledgeable! Perhaps this was just a little bit emotionally immature and not the behaviour of a grown up! I was though very keen to join the Marian Keyes party and read the book, so I made one of my, (not infrequent), visits to the Waterstones’ online store and ordered the book. I was childishly delighted to happen upon on a signed first edition of ‘Grown Ups’ and couldn’t wait to tell my friend. Such showing off truly wasn’t at all grown up at all!
Things a Grown Up Would Not Do!
You would not be so childish as to have a strong desire to write naughty and cheeky words on an 82-year-old father’s plaster cast. Neither would you risk getting into trouble at his temporary respite care home by repeatedly messing about with the bed remote, sneaking in Baileys, beer and a Nintendo Wii game.
You would not be so irresponsible to have frequent crazy 2.00 a.m. online shopping sprees.
You would not be so shallow as to wait until fifty-one to become addicted to reality TV shows such as Dancing on Ice. Rather you would have far loftier pursuits.
You would not be so greedy and unhealthy as to eat Chinese Spare ribs for four days in a row because you were too lazy to cook for yourself.
You would not be so selfish as to have your own daughter tuck you up in bed with a cup of tea and a biscuit, leaving her to lock up the house, switch off the lights and empty the dishwasher.
You would not be so lazy as to fake clean the house by spraying Mr Sheen around.
You would not be so vacuous as to bewail the fact that you didn’t fit in a manicure and pedicure when your trip to Bangkok was shortened.
You would not be so ageist and closed minded that you felt the need to mock and self-parody your own increasing love of tea and scones in garden centre coffee shops!
You would not watch Cold Feet and be envious of the characters setting off travelling in their camper van and living their best lives!
Are we Ever Fully Fledged Grown Ups?
The truth is I’ve never really felt like I’ve been a fully fledged adult! In fact Betsy said to me the other day that it must have been a nightmare for me to desist from swearing whilst she and Annie were little! I explained that whilst they were still establishing their own moral codes and boundaries and were still susceptible to parental influence I had faked all manner of sensible behaviour. Thank goodness that part of my life is complete and I don’t need to fake it anymore!
I used to think that in order to be a proper ‘grown up’ you needed to have life sussed out! If that really is the case then it can be argued that I’ve missed my window of ‘grown-up-ness’ altogether and I am now regressing backwards. To be emotionally mature it certainly helps to be wise and selfless, accepting and balanced, open-minded and non-judgemental, but it isn’t always easy! I wonder if we ever leave our ‘school playground’ versions of ourselves fully behind? If we are to be fully engaged in caring relationships with family and friends there will be inevitable jealousies and miscommunications and immature responses to difficult to situations. I think that is ok. I believe sensible behaviour is over-rated and not an indication of being grown up at all. It is fun (even in your fifties) to be childish!
Kindness is the Secret of Being Grown Up
There’s been a lot in the media recently, with the coming out of Philip Schofield and the tragic death of Caroline Flack, about being kind. The importance of kindness is something we constantly teach in schools and whilst I know I’m always wittering on about the importance of reading, but I do truly believe that reading fiction helps us develop the skills of empathy and kindness. If we can master the art of ‘being kind’ and make it the basis from which we try to act both towards ourselves and others, then whatever age we are, we are, in fact, well on our ways to being ‘grown up’. Being Kind is a good value to live by.. Do you agree?