Not sitting on the sidelines

Mark Francis

It’s the one thing in this world that separates us from almost every other person out there. It’s not money nor is it being single or seeing someone. It’s not a social status that we can post on our facebook news feed for 100 others to see and comment on. What it is, is an action. What I’m talking about is the concept of maturity. Some of us have it and some of us still don’t.

I see it almost daily on this campus and around town, people who dream big and strive for something better yet lack the maturity to actually get to the place they want to be at. Some still believe that they have to act like a teenager in a mid-20’s body. Others believe they can just coast along in most classes and put in zero effort on work. There’s no sense of owning up to their actions; no sense of maturity.

I was once like this, directionless and lacking a cause to live for. For days at a time I would lounge about playing video games, writing short stories, thinking random thoughts, treating life as a joke with me as the late night talk show comedian and host. This was me five years ago. It was a time where nothing made sense. I left the Academy of Art University learning that nothing really was sticking for me that year.

Yet within five years time, I managed to turn my life around. I realized that without direction or a sense of purpose, life is quite pointless to carry on. So then I began to better myself and get ready for the rest of my life. I started to worry more about getting a good paying job, making better connections in my networks and focusing on the finer aspects of my life.

These days, ever since I came back from a trip in the middle of July. I’m closer now to a few core people in my life. I think not just about video games, technology and comics, but about the life and world at large. I am finally achieving other great things in life.

Being mature isn’t just a mental light switch we can turn on. It’s something that requires an ounce of fear, a unit of determination and an inch of guts to push on through to something greater in ourselves. Sure we don’t need to lose everything of our childish ways, sometimes it’s healthy to still hold on to them. But I now know that there is always a time and a place to do everything in the world. Sometimes we may not like whatever it is we have to do, but if we don’t do it, who will?

Having maturity is just knowing when it’s time to do the right thing, when to step up and take charge. It doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines and saying, “next time.” It’s about being bolder than you have been in the past. It’s about taking everything in, analyzing it, evaluating it and then proceeding, instead of being reckless.

This is the concept of maturity that can separate one person from another. It’s not something that is based on race, color, creed or education. It’s more based on how we want others to treat us and how we want the world to perceive us. Maturity is doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. You don’t get a reward by day’s end for it, but it does leave a satisfying memory in your mind when you wake up the next day.