Lately I have been using old TV shows as blog titles, because they seem fitting for the subject at hand. I figure why fix something that seems to work, so here goes another reflection from the one and only Jason.
After graduating high school I decided that I was tired of school. I had a solid girlfriend, a band, and I was overflowing with the vigor of youth. Along with all of this came the entitlement of an 18-year-old that felt he was an adult now. Determined to carve my own path through life I entered the workforce ready to make my place within it.
Not long after I found myself working in a factory, because I could make more money there than in the service industry. Naturally this had me working with folks of various ages, many of whom were much older than myself. Working next to folks with spouses and children only made me feel that much older in my youthful naivety.
However, not long after entering this world I began to notice that a lot of the people I was interacting with did not act all that different from the kids I had went to school with. The longer I worked in the factory the more I realized that it was merely an extension of the same kind of things that I hated in high school. Cliques formed amongst the workers and everyone was engaged in back biting and melodrama and I was perplexed. Weren’t we all adults working here? Aren’t you supposed to grow out of all of the childishness from high school? I mean some of these people had families and children to care for and they acted like 16 year olds. It was during this time that I learned that at a certain point age and biology lose their connection.
I struggled to make sense of all of this for a while as I asked, what is it that makes someone an adult? As many of you may well realize there is no easy answer to this question, and often times this is a question we have to answer for ourselves.
By age 18 most, if not all of us, are adults biologically speaking. But, being a grown up is not a physical journey. Eventually I came to understand that not everyone matures mentally at the same rate. For this reason you will work with 40 year olds who act like they are spoiled teens, and on the other hand you may encounter 20 year olds who act like they are middle-aged.
So what is it that separates these youthful and grown states of mind? In one word, perspective.
You see, it is the child in us that pursues the here and now. In psychological terms, the Id impulse of instant gratification. When we are young we are prone to think only of ourselves and our immediate needs. We rarely reflect on the consequences of our actions and get caught within the emotional currents of right now. This part of us never goes away, just look at the world of instant gratification we have constructed for evidence of that. In simplest terms, to the child the self is the only thing that is truly important.
Now at a certain point in our development we all learn to step back from the here and now and reflect on our current situation. In doing this we open up the opportunity to anticipate and plan for the future, which can greatly benefit our desire for self-gratification. However, it also affords us the chance to see things from a different perspective. When we take this step away from ourselves we can see that we are part of something much larger and our actions can affect everything around us. It is within this perspective that the choice to act like an adult is made.
An adult recognizes that they did not get to where they are by themselves, and their current well-being is predicated on more than just themselves. Simply put an adult realizes that there are more important things in this world then just themselves. Sometimes to keep a happy balance in our lives we must act in the interest of others, and in so doing set our own well-being to the side for a moment.
For many people this idea really hits home when they have children, others yet learn to act in such a manner either from family or community; yet, some still never get the memo. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that this lesson will be learned, it is a state of mind that we all must come to on our own.
So the next time you are in the middle of a mess just take a step back from your surroundings and think for a moment. No matter where you are you have the power to choose how you will move forward. Just a gentle suggestion from the one and only Jason.