Experience Research & Design


Defining maturity

Not sure about you, but more often than not I get the comment of "I always forget how old you actually are." But what does that really mean? Do people mean that I'm more mature than the rest of my generation? Someone pointed out to me the potential reason being that I can carry on a conversation and be completely present for the moment. Which got me thinking, is perceived maturity based on your own generational culture and lifestyle characteristics? Is maturity a construct created around our own experiences and expectations of our generational bounds rather than Merriam Webster's definition of 'mature'?

Each generation grew up with expectations that they either adopted or rebelled against. There are currently four generations in the workplace. That is a lot of nuances to manage throughout your career and life. In learning what each generation values, can we modify our behavior to those expectations in order to get what we want or move to where we want to go? I perceive the definition of maturity to be in relationships and being able to communicate with those older than yourself. Those who perceive me as 'mature' I often converse or interact with in their chosen form of communication, such as a telephone or in person. I prefer one on one interaction to a group, but it is a form of communication that they are comfortable using rather than email or texting, which is my generations chosen form of communication.

As humans are we to be more empathetic towards older generations and become more in tune with their chosen form of communication? Does the perception of maturity by those who hold the power give those perceived as 'mature,' the ability to advance their relationships or careers faster than they typically would? When you say that someone is 'mature,' how do you define it?