I don’t think that I can come up with a more obvious description of what it’s like to grow up or be a grown-up aside from an enumeration of the typical things adults are expected to do, such as having a job, paying bills or being in-charge of one’s affairs. But beyond securing one’s physical well-being, maturity is an endless process of reassessing one’s place under the sun and asking a million and one questions whether the choices that one has made have been all worth it.
An article in New York Times points to the role that lost selves–”the person that you could have been”–play in the way personalities are molded, and presents an argument that “ruminating on paths not taken is an emotionally corrosive exercise.” A study by Laura A. King, a psychologist at the University of Missouri, shows that as well-adjusted adults grow older, they tend to incorporate more points of view in recollections of past decisions that were in one way or another caused them regrets.
In essence, looking back at a regretful event in one’s life and recalling not only the loss but, more importantly, also the lessons learned from the experience, is what a mature person usually does. You can cling to a sad event for all the world cares, but at some point, you need to learn a few valuable lessons, like your (and other people’s) role in that event and what you gained from it, and then move forward. You cannot blame yourself forever, too.
This brings to mind one of those movie lines from a rather non-sensical chick-flick: Life does not revolve around your little version of the universe.
That’s how people grow up.