As an only child, it was easy to come across as “mature for my age.” When you spend most of your non-school hours surrounded by two grown adults and, occasionally, their adult friends, talking to grown ups is pretty natural. But knowing how to hold a conversation with people over thrice your age obviously isn’t the only requirement of maturity. At 16-years-old, I was able to talk to people in their fifties about politics, but I was still a judgemental brat who thought I knew everything and never made up my bed. Today, I still never make up my bed (oops), but I’m aware of little nuggets of maturity that I’ve gained over the years. I have these moments where even I’m a little surprised at my own maturity. “Damn,” I think. “Maybe I’m actually growing up.”
I’m not getting ahead of myself, of course. I still have plenty of room for improvement, but it’s never wrong to pat yourself on the back every now. What I’m getting at is this: Even if you have moments of seeing yourself as a hopeless screw up, you’re probably a lot more mature than you think you are. Here are nine signs to look out for, and you should congratulate yourself accordingly.
You Embrace IndependenceMaybe you're looking forward to start college on the other side of the country, or you're just trying to get your driver's license so your parents don't have to drop you off and pick you up all the time. Independence manifests in many forms, but it's all about taking risks and believing in yourself without having some other aspect in your life--parents, friends, hometown, etc--act as a crutch or an obstacle. It's about you doing you. Before Sunrise
You Fight Your Own BattlesThere's nothing wrong with getting help when you need it, but being able to stand up for yourself and get stuff done solo is a big sign of maturity. That means talking to that teacher you're having problems with without making your parents call the school. That means not backing down when you're challenged by someone who is trying to belittle you. That can even mean making your own doctor's appointment. Whatever it is, it's a good trait to hang on to and develop ASAP. Daria
You Have Your Own Beliefs, Not Your Parents'It's like when you're a little kid during an election year and you decide to "support" whoever your parents are voting for. I still see people who are straight up adults think like this and never listen to any outside perspectives. This leads to a lack of empathy, which, along with making you look immature, also kind of makes you look like a naive a-hole. If you already think for yourself, congrats, you're on the right track. But I'm A Cheerleader
You're Able To Own Up To Being WrongThis can be so hard. I mean, getting called out for being incorrect about something is so mortifying and embarrassing. It's so much easier to just deflect, make excuses, and/or change the subject. If you've found yourself more willing to just own up to being wrong, that's a huge maturity boost. Grown ass adults have trouble with this! Freaks And Geeks
You're Less Judgmental Of People's Personal DecisionsIf someone has harmless beliefs or lifestyle choices that don't jive with yours, and you're still able to treat them like a human being, congrats, you're more mature than an alarming amount of the population. You can look at a woman with unshaven armpits and not make a big deal out of it, because you know it's not a big deal. You can see two people of the same gender kissing, and know that it's not something to clutch your pearls over, because it's just two people of the same gender kissing. See what I'm getting at here? Sarah Wintner
You Know How To Make A Real ApologyRemember when Cher and Tai apologized to each other after the "you're a virgin who can't drive" debacle? The scene might have sounded ditzy, but it really does take a lot to offer someone a real apology. We have to swallow our pride and make amends, but it's often worth it. Oh, and I'm talking REAL apologies here, not non-apology apologies like, "I'm sorry that what I said made you feel that way." That's not an apology. Grow up. Clueless
You Let The BS GoThis doesn't mean that you can't let things bother you, or that you can't revel in anger for a bit after being wronged, especially by somebody you trust. But with maturity comes to ability to know that you can move on without the world ending, and that you can move on without holding on to this bubble or rage and pettiness inside of you. Again, this can be hard when it comes to a big betrayal, but the small stuff? Let it go. My Mad Fat Diary
You Don't Always Put Yourself FirstSelfishness can be a pretty immature trait. There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself, but when you're so self-centered that you make everything about you and your problems? Eugh, grow up! On the other hand, if you're willing to help someone without expecting anything in return, or you're able to put your feelings aside for a friend who is hurting, you're a lot more mature than you probably give yourself credit for. Some Girls
You Do Things Without Being Told FirstDo you clean your room when you know it's a mess without your parents yelling at you about it? Do you do your chores without debating your way around them? Do you start studying without getting pestered about it? Congrats, you're...well, you're better off than most teens and at least one adult (hi). Pretty In Pink
What have you definitely matured on over the past year? What are you still really immature about? Tell us in the comments!