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Devotion • Posted: Oct 23, 2014 18:10:11Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

My comment in the previous post about most Millennials having "not yet entered full maturity" has prompted me to consider what exactly maturity is. In other words, what changes when one crosses into full maturity?

There are a host of possible answers to that question, ranging from hormone levels, to the experience of loss and the finding of reason to try again, to the achievement of financial self-sufficiency. But one factor in particular came to my attention when I viewed the above image. And that factor is the notion of commitment or devotion.

While many adults are critical of young people for being "frivolous" or "irresponsible", it seems to me they are really saying young people lack commitment, that they are unwilling to make the sacrifices, or expend the energy and time necessary to make things they care about actually work, come into fruition. By contrast, older, fully mature, "people of character", have done and are doing just that. They have weathered good and bad, suffered losses, narrowed their focus, put in overtime and exerted every ounce of effort necessary to get the job done, and get it done right. Fully mature people may have regrets about all sorts of things, including opportunities lost or never taken, time wasted, resources squandered, feelings hurt, mistakes and missteps made. But they have at least a few things they can point to with nearly complete satisfaction, accomplishments to which they have devoted their very lives. It may have been a relationship, children, a career, a business, a work of art, a process or discovery, the winning of a war, or the holding together and improvement of a community. But it is something, something of substance as real to them as any brick you or I may hold in our hands, something they know they did.

I look at the couple in the image above. On his face, and in his posture, I see an attitude of clear commitment, unwavering faith that what he has decided to do is worth his every effort, clear to the very end. And she, she is exactly in step with him, striding strongly, not leading but supportively following, perhaps not exactly sure of where they are going or why, but clearly certain she will not be left behind, nor will she be found absent when needed, for she is as devoted to seeing her relationship with her partner through to the end as he is committed to reaching his targeted aims.

Yes, that is maturity. It is also a set of choices they have both made. We may critically ponder whether their choices have ultimately amounted to wise choices, for either themselves or, in consequence, to others. Or, we may even snicker that what they've committed to certainly seems "frivolous" to us. But in either case, agree and sympathize or not, we cannot deny they did have, and continue to display, commitment and devotion to something. And that has imbued them with mature character, an enduring mark left emblazoned upon the world they've traversed, a mark that will endure well beyond the end of their own fragile physicality.

While it is certainly true we all leave a mark upon the world, good or bad, appreciated or not, no matter what we do, it is also just as true some of us will make that mark of our own choosing, on our own terms, within our own understanding, and by our own committed, devoted efforts. By those standards, upon our ends, it is certain there will at least be one thing we shall not regret.

May at least that one life satisfaction continuously remain within your grasp, too.

Sunday, September 28th, 2014
55.1 mm 149 mm
1/800 sec
f 5