Immaturity is really just a fear of commitment.
I believe the process of crafting an identity to be destructive rather than constructive. We do not build ourselves from brick or clay out of nothingness. Identity starts as a huge block of marble. Somewhere within that marble is an idea for a sculpture. As we go through life, we slowly chisel away bits and pieces of the marble until we arrive at an image of who we are. Each discarded bit of chiseled marble represents one of the infinite possibilities of who we can be. Each act of chiseling is a decision made.
Alas the Artists’ Curse: we are never content with our creation, because we imagined all the vast and brilliant possibilities before us when our future was still somewhere vague within a block of marble. Each chip is henceforth cast away in reluctance, for the sculptor becomes aware that the possibilities of what may lie beneath the marble include a future that might possibly be better than other possible futures.
But if the sculptor protests against chiseling, that sculpture will be a shapeless block forever.
Those who do not accept permanent changes in their lives are condemned to live in permanent stagnation. I exist within that stagnation, for I do not know who I want to become.
I am a career student who has only ever held temporary jobs and has only ever lived in temporary apartments. I recently visited a good friend of mine in Kansas. He was a buddy of mine from college. Since graduating, he has built a career in the military, has acquired a wife, and a has house he can call his own. Meanwhile, I’m still staring at my block of marble, allowing it to grow dusty and stained with time. His sculpture is beautiful to me – a modern take on the classic American Dream, but the idea of its permanence is terrifying.
I have no framed pictures on my wall. I would rather not build the illusion of home.
How do sane individuals arrive at the decision to permanently alter their lives forever, knowing full well that tastes and desires change with time and experience?
How does someone come to the decision: “I want to marry this person. This person will be the last person I will ever love. My sixty year-old self won’t regret this.”?
How does one come to the realization that: “I want kids. Not someday in the distant future. Not nine months from tomorrow. Nine months from today.”?
At what point can someone bring oneself to say: “This is home now. This street is how I will identify myself. This neighborhood is how my kids will identify themselves. This is where I want to open presents on Christmas morning twenty years from now, for where I want my children’s hearts to ache from the nostalgia of their idyllic pasts.”?
“This job is the job I want for the rest of my life. People will know me by my job. I will retire with this job. My name will go down in history as being synonymous with this job. I am its loyal servant, for decades upon decades until I am old and weak.”
“This is how I want the sculpture of my life to look in the Museum of Legacy.”
These questions terrify me, and I feel as though I will never arrive at their answers. Until I do, I’m condemned to a life of immaturity, staring at a block of marble lazily chipped and mangled, with nothing but the infinite, vague possibilities mocking my foolish and fantastical whims.