I had a sweet conversation with my best friend yesterday, and she mentioned that sometimes when people go through some sort of tragedy in their life, they often stay at the emotional age when that tragedy occurred. I’ve heard something like that before, but I always just brushed the idea to the side, not really identifying with the statement, relating emotional age with the maturity level. So, the concept never added up for me. I’ve since been informed that emotional age and emotional maturity are two different things. Most often kids who’ve been abused are highly mature, highly functional, and highly intelligent, yet often emotionally naïve. Now, THAT I understand.
In my defensive way, I made a joke out of the statement. It’s what I do when I hear things that I don’t want to think about or want to deflect. Though I never just right out ignore anything. When I hear something, I hear it. I may not respond immediately, but I will respond. I like to think things through, weigh them, measure them, and work them out through my own understanding. The joke I made was about my emotional age would then have to be about 4-years old. My friend didn’t laugh. Instead she says, “I can see that.”
Now, I almost got offended, because in my understanding I took it to mean she thought I was immature. She elaborated and said to me, “You have a part of you that still believes in fairy tales, slaying dragons, knights in shining armor, superheroes, and happily-ever-afters.” I wanted to argue with her and immediately thought what she said was idiotic and ridiculous. I didn’t believe in fairy tales. I know they’re not real. I live in the real world, feel the real pain, and face real consequences. But, I realized my friend was right. I do still believe in those things. I still believe in heroes. They may not wear a cape and hide behind a pair of glasses, but they do exist. I do still believe in valiant knights, brave men who go out to slay dragons in defense of their love, their country, or their family. I do believe still in happily-ever-after though I don’t see examples of it every day, nor has it ever been a part of my life, but I know it’s there… I just have to find it.
I’m so thankful today that inside me there lives an inner child, a little four-year old girl, believing in the fantastical. More than anything, I hope she continues to cling to those dreams and beliefs and never lets them go. The world needs them. I need them. I need her.
What is your emotional age?
Till next time,