Four Ways We Mature Through Our 20s

A slow but magnificent transformation

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Photo by Liliya Grek on Unsplash

We learn to disintegrate

We’re naive and rigid when young. We group our thoughts, feelings and beliefs and treat them as one.

As we grow older, wiser and start to familiarize with newer dimensions of the world around us and ourselves, we learn to compartmentalize. We identify dichotomies and learn to see different parts of a whole under different lights.

When we’re young, if we hate someone we hate everything about them. When we love someone, we want all of them. We put our passions on pedestals and our battles in secret diaries.

We swing between utopia and annihilation.

Then we grow up and find a spot inwards of extremes.

We realize the world isn’t black and white, and that’s good. We recognize the need and beauty of the shades of grey in between.

We embrace changes inside and out

We learn to sympathize with people we can’t stand and protect people even when we disagree with them. We appreciate the gravity of ideas that oppose our beliefs.

We realize loving doesn’t always mean wanting to be together. Wanting doesn’t always mean pursuing. Quitting doesn’t mean ceasing to care.

We learn to support even when forgiveness is on hold. We watch friends turn into nemeses and strangers turn into soulmates.

We give more chances. We allow more changes.

Above all, we learn that no matter how strong and fully formed our beliefs appear today, it can always evolve, at least marginally, because as long as time is part of our equation, which it always is, changes are inevitable.

We accept shifts in our momentum

Our stability gets distorted by the world around us, and just as often by ourselves. Then we float, wander, fetch — till we reach a new equilibrium. With age, we learn to make our shifts smaller and less frequent, our equilibria more stable, but never take stability for granted.

We can feel different aspects of our lives converging towards something beyond our understanding, and we familiarize with that feeling.

We accept that much of our destination is beyond our control, and life will give us humbling experiences the more we try to reject that truth. We find profound beauty in making the best of our journey one day at a time.

We find order in inevitable chaos

We never lose our younger selves. Not entirely. We just put them in the back burner and let them remind us of the ecstasy of simplicity. We re-learn how to uncomplicate.

Growing wiser comes with believing in fewer perfections, but we don’t entirely drift away from the hunger for completeness — only take a different route to it.

We realize we may not want the same things any longer, even when we want the same feelings.

It’s just that what we wanted aren’t where we expected to find them.

We accept the inevitable (and eventually desirable) rocky roads for the same old destinations we dreamed of.

Looking back, our battles appear as blessings, defeats as developments and scars as stories of survival.

We realize, when everything doesn’t make sense, it’s a lot more reassuring than when everything does.

Written by

“Sugarcoats are not in fashion” • Economist, teacher, photographer • Stockholm, Sweden • All posts: tiny.cc/22b5tz

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