When I think back to my youth I remember how I wanted to appear older than I was and the nicest thing that anybody might say about me was; ‘he is very mature for his age! This desire to be more mature started when I was around six years of age.
Soon I became ‘six and a half’ and for the following few years I climbed the ladder of maturity in six month stretches. I couldn’t wait for Confirmation. Primary-Cert, Pioneer probation pin, long trousers and ‘to get going to dances.’
I landed a job as a bar-manager when I was nineteen and here again, I received the much sought approval compliment of being ‘very mature for his age.’ I knocked around with older drinking companions because I sought to appear solid, sensible, steady – and above all, mature!
Now I realise that all those beautiful years that I fritted away through constantly stretching to see what was around the next bend in the road, were not there to be wished away, but for living in the ‘now.’
Be this as it may, I want to tell you that the last thing I want to be today is mature for my age! Being mature for my age at this stage of my life can only mean the one thing; that I look older than I should for my age, act older than I should for my age and that I am taking up too much room on life’s trail.
No, my friends; I have decided that for the remainder of my life I wish to be known as the guy who is very immature for his age! To hell with those who, in the words of Ger Canning, ‘take the sensible option’, I am putting out the word right here and now that the last thing you can expect from me going forward is maturity!
A good launch for my immature phase is that a test I had three years ago, gave me a metabolic age of thirteen years younger than my chronological age. There ya have it … medical science is backing up the fact that I am immature for my age!
In all honesty, (as Tommy Lyng might say) I don’t need to drastically change my mode of living in order to demonstrate immaturity. This being said, it is my ambition to progress this ambition further.
A lot of sensible people are inherently hyper-focussed on themselves and they constantly worry what others might think of them. I was a bit like that when I was mature for my age. The fact that the people I was trying to impress with my maturity didn’t notice me because they were so intent on impressing the rest of us is only dawning on me since I decided to come out as immature.
The tendency to feel and behave as if we are the focus of attention, is known as ‘The Spotlight Effect’. Some experts in human behaviour see this concern as being a hand down from primitive times when identifying friend or foe was essential for survival. We want to look as if we have all the answers … very mature, in other words!
Trying to impress will have no part to play in my new immature world. You may even call me irrational and unpredictable at times. But, you see, I don’t give a rat’s ass what anybody else thinks anymore. This new age of immaturity will give me licence to do and say things I wouldn’t have dreamed of back in my ‘very mature for his age’ days. Yea … I know, Lads; you don’t give a rat’s ass either!
I don’t have to remember names like I used to. I can tell the same story ten times instead of only twice. It doesn’t matter, because I am hanging around with more ‘immature for their age’ friends these days. Mind you, I still do a lot of the stuff I did in my mature age but anything goes now and I’ll get away with a lot more for being known as ‘that fellow is very immature for his age!’
Would anybody like to meet me in Athlone, at the bus station some day? There are buses going to twenty towns and cities and we’ll just jump on the first one – no matter where its headed? What do you mean, ‘how will we get back?’ When you’re immature for your age, you don’t have to answer sensible questions like that one …
‘Act you age’, was one way my mother admonished her sons when we acted up or became hard to manage. This time, Mammy, I have no intention of ‘acting my age’; you see, I am very immature for my age!
The self-made man always seems to admire his maker.