What are the marks of maturity? How do you know if you have truly grown up? Many years ago I heard author and poet Judith Viorst speak at the Pantages Theatre in Winnipeg.
I have long been an admirer of Ms. Viorst’s children’s books like…….Alexander and the Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad Day and The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. Judith also writes poetry for adults most of it about coming of age, whether that age be 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80.
The night I heard her speak she used a series of highly entertaining anecdotes to illustrate the signs we should look for if we wanted to determine whether we were truly a grown up.
According to Viorst being a grown up means………..
1. Realizing you aren’t necessarily everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. Some people will like you and some won’t. That’s natural and you accept it.
2. Understanding you cannot be responsible for making sure all the people you love are always happy. Your friends and family need to bear some of the responsibility for their own happiness.
3. Accepting the ‘dark’ side of your personality. Knowing you have faults but not being too judgemental of yourself. Admitting that despite your negative qualities you are still basically a good person.
4. Being firmly optimistic even when things go wrong in life. Always remembering that even when things appear catastrophic eventually healing will come and pain will diminish.
5. Having the ability to comfort yourself and the grace to receive comfort from others.
6. Committing yourself in some way to making the world a better place to live in before you die.
What next? Judith Viorst ended her talk by encouraging us not to worry if we hadn’t achieved her six marks of a grownup. She told us when we quit the ‘growing up process’ we may as well quit the living process as well.