1. You’ve held a job for a long time!
That’s not going above and beyond expectations. That’s the bare minimum you have to do to survive. Even if you have a good job, that just means you can afford to buy yourself more crap you don’t need. I’m happy for you, but that only guarantees you’re accomplishing the bare minimum of your own personal responsibilities required to survive. You may as well give yourself a parade for not being in jail or not committing suicide.
2. You got promoted at your job!
The world operates under this assumption: Society makes up the economy’s work force, and through social Darwinism the alpha members of society are destined to rise to the top of the corporate ladder; one way or another, the best, smartest people work their ways into the highest positions in every organization. So if you ever meet anyone who has a better job than you then you can just assume that they’re better, smarter and just all around more alpha than you.
The problem with that philosophy is that human beings aren’t tactical wolves, they’re butt-sniffing monkeys. There’s a billion ways to get ahead in the world. Acting/thinking like a mature adult is just one of them, and not many people take that route because it will get you in trouble with the butt sniffing monkeys you work for as often as it will help you. At any rate, the mundane task you get paid to do to stay alive is not the purpose or measure of life. It doesn’t reflect the total sum of your character. It’s naïve to believe that rank always equates to maturity.
3. You got an award!
In the bureaucratic world we live in, someday you’re going to get a piece of a paper from someone saying how great you are. They’ll give one to you every couple of years you stay in school. When you get a permanent job you’ll get at least one a year. If you do any volunteering you’ll pick a few up, especially if you make sure everyone knows how selfless you are. You can even get a world famous award for putting a ball in a hoop over and over and over like a lab rat. Awards are a dime a dozen. The only thing they guarantee is that somebody likes you, and you feel the need to let other people know that you feel the need to impress other people.
That’s not impressive. That’s not mature…on multiple levels. That’s great if you got an award, and I’m sure you put a lot of effort into earning whichever one you got, but that’s not a milestone of maturity in and of itself. And mature people don’t gloat over their achievements privately or publicly.
4. You got married!
As a child I imagined getting married was like leveling up in a video game. Or your wedding clothes were like a cocoon that you spent the day in, and the next morning after a night of cosmic sex you emerged a new, upgraded human being. After all, if that’s not what happens then what’s all the fuss about?
The fuss is about convincing ourselves we’re cosmic creatures taking part in a cosmic ritual when in reality we’re just butt sniffing monkeys reinforcing the behavioral standards set by our butt sniffing monkey ancestors.
Great. So you decided to commit to spending the rest of your constantly changing life with another constantly changing person you just happen to want to rub your genitals against right now. You believe you’re fulfilling some God-given mandate by signing a piece of paper printed out by a bureaucrat who charged you $300 for that piece of paper. You think tomorrow you’re going to glow in the mirror because that piece of paper will change you who and what you are inside over night?
And you’re going to love the other person forever. That’s beautiful, but it’s a conflict of interest to take credit for selflessly sacrificing yourself to the person you’re going to get to rub your genitals against every couple of days for as long as you give them everything they want and don’t piss them off. I’m glad you could come to a legal agreement with another human being that allows you to swap resources for sex for as long as it’s convenient for both parties. That would be clever except it’s what everyone expects you to do.
Getting into an archaic legal contract with another person after being pressured to your entire life doesn’t make you king of the world. It makes you unoriginal, and if you bought a diamond ring it also makes you a sucker for paying thousands of dollars for a worthless rock, and it makes you complicit in the human rights abuses being committed by the diamond cartels. That diamond ring is not an indicator of maturity either.
5. You had a child!
Parents act like they had to carry a ring to Mordor to have a child. Granted, pregnancy is hard, but getting pregnant is neither difficult nor novel. Everybody has sex. Having sex without a condom doesn’t make you better than anyone else.
If you had a child before you were financially secure, then you screwed up. You shouldn’t get to take credit for being an adult for making an irresponsible decision that is going to cost you your life’s dreams and force you to raise a human being in a less stable home than you could have if you hadn’t messed up. If you had a child before you were prepared then the existence of your child is a badge of your shame, not your maturity.
Even if you had a child on time, that’s not a sign that you’re mature. That’s just a sign you better get hurry up and get it together.
6. You kept a child alive for 18 years!
If you had a child then you better keep it alive for at least 18 years. Bragging about that is like bragging about not burning down your house for 18 years. That’s the least you can do. You only get to take credit for doing your best. If you had your child before you were prepared then you didn’t do you best. If you didn’t read every single child psychology book they sell on Amazon.com then you didn’t do your best. If your child is a screw up, then you didn’t do your best.
If you’ve ever said something like, “I don’t know what went wrong with my child. I did my best to raise him/her. Some kids are just born unreachable,” that really means you were a bad parent, and you’re in denial because you can’t accept responsibility for your failures. You’ve always been immature, but since you’ve spent so long asserting your superiority based on your title as parent, you’ve blinded your ego from recognizing your obvious flaws.
You can impress stupid people by telling them you’re a parent who did their best. A mature person will just raise their eyebrow at you like Spock.
7. You have the power to command and punish others!
As long as you put an average amount of effort into not being an idiot, then at some point in your life you’ll be handed authority over a group of people younger than you. It’s just going to happen. And if you want to go out of your way to make it happen, you can pick a career field that leans more towards command than others. As a matter of fact, you only need a G.E.D. to get a job as a police officer. It’s not hard to get in a position of authority, and it’s even easier to yell at people whose only two options in life are homelessness and taking your abuse.
8. You hurt other people.
We’ve all got monkey brains with monkey brain cortexes. Sometimes it feels good to hurt other monkeys, but civilized modern, mature monkeys control themselves and find intellectual ways to work around hurting others. They certainly don’t take joy in hurting others or go out of their way to do it.
Everyone who hurts others thinks it makes them the alpha pack member. It doesn’t make you the alpha pack member. It makes you a waste of animated star dust.
9. You’re an ascetic.
Religions tend to promise that if you follow a strict moral code you’ll get to go to a paradise after you die. That moral code tends to boil down to never having any fun or experiencing any pleasure. Implied in that ascetic moral code is that the more free and happy you are the worse of a person you are. Thus, the more cold and rigid of a person you are the better you are, and you should be sad and remorseful all the time anyway for all the bad things you did in the past and know you’re going to do in the future.
Being silent and miserable makes you look serious and mature, but what’s the point in growing old if it’s just to bemoan and regret the time we spent here? Devoting your life to asceticism is as immature as devoting your life to rain dancing. There’s no point. It just wastes all the time you’ve been given to make the most of your life.
10. You’ve proven yourself obedient and faithful.
Obedience and faith are the two best traits you can ask for in a slave. As much human history and culture revolved around the use of slaves it’s not surprising that obedience and faith are held in such high regard. It’s been written in a billion books and pounded into every poor person’s head that it’s mature to be obedient and never question the people who were born before you to richer parents.
Modern psychology politely disagrees. It’s not mature to turn your brain off because it’s not healthy or productive to turn your brain off. It just makes you a slave.
11. You dress professionally at work and wear designer clothes in the evening.
Smart people in professional circles will tell you that “the clothes make the man.” And you can prove this by doing an easy, fun experiment. Dress up in a sharp, casual suit and go run errands around town. Then shave your head and put on some sweat pants and a stained Looney Tunes T-shirt and go run some more errands around town.
When you dress sharp, fortune seeks you out. When you dress sloppy, you repel fortune. There are a thousand psychological reasons for this that marketers understand better than the rest of us, but it all boils down to us being gullible monkeys. We’re so gullible we’ll even trick ourselves into believing we’re more alpha simply by dressing more alpha. And if we keep up the lie long enough, sometimes the lie ceases to be a lie.
For some people though, wearing designer clothes is just covering a turd with gold paint. If your conscience is fine with spending thousands of dollars on an outfit while people are dying in the streets from starvation then you’re probably a gold-painted turd.
12. You’re older than someone else.
When I was a child I was told to respect my elders. Nobody ever told me why because it went without saying that the older you were the more respect you deserved.
That’s simply not true. There’s no rational justification for that rule. Nobody owes you anything for staying alive. You were supposed to be doing that anyway, and everyone else who is alive has been doing just as well at staying alive as you. You don’t get extra points for being born before someone else. Everyone has equal worth in the universe.
You can be an old dumb ass. You don’t deserve respect just for being old. And if you did truly deserve respect you wouldn’t have to ask for it, much less try to demand it.
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