I have always been immature, in every respect.
Teachers noted it on my report cards, though academically I was fine. At my thirteenth birthday dinner, my parents asked the Chinese waiter to guess my age and he went with ten. Still got a free fried ice cream with a sparkler on it, but.
As a teenager I was behind my same-age peers in all respects – cried too easily, late to fill out, never had girlfriends, didn’t have a part-time job. I lacked confidence, was skinny and spotty, and these factors prevented me from grabbing opportunities that would have helped me to grow up.
Things became alarming when I was in my early twenties, at university and still as childish as ever. I even had zits! I was smart enough to realize my predicament but I had no idea what I could do about it. I knew that I needed experiences in order to grow up, but how could I get them? The independence of living away from home would have been perfect but I didn’t have enough money. The joys and pitfalls of dating would have been very helpful, but I was having no luck at all in that field. There’s always travel, of course – but again, no money.
I was stuck in a rut.
Finally life started moving forward, but at every stage since I have been in a state of conscious, though involuntary, immaturity. When I started proper work and lived with a girlfriend I thought I was finally grown up, but then she left me and I left the job and ran away to mess around overseas. Throughout my thirties I have lived like I was in my twenties, wandering here and there, taking up hobbies on a whim, being shamelessly promiscuous, and strenuously avoiding being held down by marriage, children, a mortgage, or anything else that creates grown-ups.
Now that I’m near forty I’ve realized that I will never grow up. I don’t want to. I’m not sure if this caused by underdevelopment of my prefrontal cortex, or an over-protected childhood, or something else. My best guess is that it is because I look at ‘adults’, ones who do all those grown-up things, and I see a lack of joy in their lives. I see with clear eyes the stress, the frustration, the whips and chains of marriage . . . it is not for me, and I turn away. No doubt dickycone and others will argue the opposite but that is my perception of the people I know personally.
Others are now starting to note my immaturity in a way they never did before. I’ve always looked younger than I am, and in one’s thirties immaturity is quite common anyway, but now that I’m forty and have grey in my beard, the fact that I spend my time . . . well, no one really knows how I spend my time, except you. All they know is that I disappear all weekend, and when I reemerge on Monday they ask me what I did and I say, not much.
This is another reason for moving away from conventional employment. I’ve gotten away with my childishness for a long time, but now I’m starting to look like a weirdo. Perhaps I am a weirdo. I’m cool with that.
Some might suggest that I grow up by committing to an alternative path in life, like a life of study or contemplation or whatever. I don’t think so. I reckon that, at my age, only the experience of commitment, child-raising, and all that responsibility could possibly mature me any further. Or seek a high-level job. As I don’t intend to do those things, then I guess I will always be a bit of a child.
We must accept the consequences of our decisions.
What will happen to me next year? Will a life of freedom make me even less mature, make me backslide into my fifteen-year-old self? Time will tell.