Quotations On Maturity
1. Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
2. We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
3. Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
4. Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.
5. The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?
6. I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.
7. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn’t much improved my opinion of them.
8. For, after all, you do grow up, you do outgrow your ideals, which turn to dust and ashes, which are shattered into fragments; and if you have no other life, you just have to build one up out of these fragments. And all the time your soul is craving and longing for something else. And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, raking them over as though they were a heap of cinders, looking in these cinders for some spark, however tiny, to fan it into a flame so as to warm his chilled blood by it and revive in it all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that made his blood course through his veins, that drew tears from his eyes, and that so splendidly deceived him!
9. Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.
10. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
11. You are never too old to become younger!
12. There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers.
13. Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others.
14. I imagined the lies the valedictorian was telling them right now. About the exciting future that lies ahead. I wish she’d tell them the truth: Half of you have gone as far in life as you’re ever going to. Look around. It’s all downhill from here. The rest of us will go a bit further, a steady job, a trip to Hawaii, or a move to Phoenix, Arizona, but out of fifteen hundred how many will do anything truly worthwhile, write a play, paint a painting that will hang in a gallery, find a cure for herpes? Two of us, maybe three? And how many will find true love? About the same. And enlightenment? Maybe one. The rest of us will make compromises, find excuses, someone or something to blame, and hold that over our hearts like a pendant on a chain.
15. The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.
16. In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart.
18. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
19. To be of good quality, you have to excuse yourself from the presence of shallow and callow minded individuals.
20. Maturity is when your world opens up and you realize that you are not the center of it.
21. I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us.
22. Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.”
Mature love follows the principle: “I am loved because I love.”
Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.”
Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.
23. That was when it was all made painfully clear to me. When you are a child, there is joy. There is laughter. And most of all, there is trust. Trust in your fellows. When you are an adult…then comes suspicion, hatred, and fear. If children ran the world, it would be a place of eternal bliss and cheer. Adults run the world; and there is war, and enmity, and destruction unending. Adults who take charge of things muck them up, and then produce a new generation of children and say, “The children are the hope of the future.” And they are right. Children are the hope of the future. But adults are the damnation of the present, and children become adults as surely as adults become worm food.
24. Do any men grow up or do they only come of age?
25. The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works. The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.
26. Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.
27. There’s truths you have to grow into.
28. I’m not ready to let the youthful part of myself go yet. If maturity means becoming a cynic, if you have to kill the part of yourself that is naive and romantic and idealistic – the part of you that you treasure most – to claim maturity, is it not better to die young but with your humanity intact?
29. People say you’re born innocent, but it’s not true. You inherit all kinds of things that you can do nothing about. You inherit your identity, your history, like a birthmark that you can’t wash off. … We are born with our heads turned back, but my mother says we have to face into the future now. You have to earn your own innocence, she says. You have to grow up and become innocent.
30. People say you’re born innocent, but it’s not true. You inherit all kinds of things that you can do nothing about. You inherit your identity, your history, like a birthmark that you can’t wash off. … We are born with our heads turned back, but my mother says we have to face into the future now. You have to earn your own innocence, she says. You have to grow up and become innocent.
31. What I’ve found about it is that there are some folks you can talk to until you’re blue in the face–they’re never going to get it and they’re never going to change. But every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who is eager to listen, eager to learn, and willing to try new things. Those are the people we need to reach. We have a responsibility as parents, older people, teachers, people in the neighborhood to recognize that.
32. The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.
33. People give you a hard time about being a kid at twelve. They didn’t want to give you Halloween candy anymore. They said things like, “If this were the Middle Ages, you’d be married and you’d own a farm with about a million chickens on it.” They were trying to kick you out of childhood. Once you were gone, there was no going back, so you had to hold on as long as you could.
34. It must be wonderful to be seventeen, and to know everything.
35. That’s the duty of the old, to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old.
36. The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.
37. Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.
38. A man should be able to hear, and to bear, the worst that could be said of him.
39. Young girls are like helpless children in the hands of amorous men, whatever is said to them is true and whatever manipulation on their bodies seems like love to them, sooner or later, they come back to their senses, but the scars are not dead inasmuch as her spoiler lives.
40. I will come back to you, I swear I will;
And you will know me still.
I shall be only a little taller
Than when I went.
41. Sometimes problems don’t require a solution to solve them; instead they require maturity to outgrow them.
42. It is so many years before one can believe enough in what one feels even to know what the feeling is
43. He had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself, and he had found out about them as one has to find out–through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own damn foolishness, through being mistaken and wrong and an idiot and egotistical and aspiring and hopeful and believing and confused. Each thing he learned was so simple and obvious, once he grasped it, that he wondered why he had not always known it. And what had he learned? A philosopher would not think it much, perhaps, and yet in a simple human way it was a good deal. Just by living, my making the thousand little daily choices that his whole complex of heredity, environment, and conscious thought, and deep emotion had driven him to make, and by taking the consequences, he had learned that he could not eat his cake and have it, too. He had learned that in spite of his strange body, so much off scale that it had often made him think himself a creature set apart, he was still the son and brother of all men living. He had learned that he could not devour the earth, that he must know and accept his limitations. He realized that much of his torment of the years past had been self-inflicted, and an inevitable part of growing up. And, most important of all for one who had taken so long to grow up, he thought he had learned not to be the slave of his emotions.
44. Nobody smart knows what they want to do until they get into their twenties or thirties.
45. There are many forms of love as there is moments in time, and you are capable of feeling them all at different stages of your life.
46. Except. What is normal at any given time? We change just as the seasons change, and each spring brings new growth. So nothing is ever quite the same.
47. Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all.
48. You simply don’t get to be wise, mature, etc., unless you’ve been a raving cannibal for thirty years or so.
49. Nothing special has happened today; no one can say she was more provoked than usual. It is only that every day one grows a little, every day something is different, so that in the heaping up of days suddenly a thing that was impossible has become possible. This is how a girl becomes a grown woman. Step by step until it is done.
50. I am sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It’s small mining– small mining. You’re too young a man to be panning memories, Adam. You should be getting yourself some new ones, so that the mining will be richer when you come to age.
51. Until recently each generation found it more expedient to plead guilty to the charge of being young and ignorant, easier to take the punishment meted out by the older generation (which had itself confessed to the same crime short years before). The command to grow up at once was more bearable than the faceless horror of wavering purpose, which was youth.
52. There was that word again.Mature. Was this what maturity was? Giving up on the things we wanted because we knew we’d never get them?
53. In a desperate attempt to stay young forever we have achieved eternal childishness, rather than eternal youth.
54. A person’s readiness to date is largely a matter of maturity and environment.
55. Childhood and adulthood were not factors of age but states of mind.
56. Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.
57. For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress — to the future.
58. Grown men do not need leaders.
59. The same teen who can’t legally operate a four-wheeler, or [ATV]…in a farm lane workplace environment can operate a jacked-up F-250 pickup on a crowded urban expressway. By denying these [farm work] opportunities to bring value to their own lives and the community around them, we’ve relegated our young adults to teenage foolishness. Then as a culture we walk around shaking our heads in bewilderment at these young people with retarded maturity. Never in life do people have as much energy as in their teens, and to criminalize leveraging it is certainly one of our nation’s greatest resource blunders.
60. At last I understood that the way over, or through this dilemma, the unease at writing about ‘petty personal problems’ was to recognize that nothing is personal, in the sense that it is uniquely one’s own. Writing about oneself, one is writing about others, since your problems, pains, pleasures, emotions—and your extraordinary and remarkable ideas—can’t be yours alone. […] Growing up is after all only the understanding that one’s unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.
It seems that when you have cancer you are a brave battler against the disease, but when you have Alzheimer’s you are an old fart. That’s how people see you. It makes you feel quite alone.