At a gathering last night, cocktail conversation: talking with two other women one said she had recently read an article by a psychologist who defines adolescence as the period between 12 and 25 because recent brain studies show that the brain is not fully mature until that time (on average). Before 25, said the article, various parts of the brain grow rapidly accumulating many neurons in areas that are stimulated by education and all the life experience of young people.
At about 25 some of these areas actually shrink and mylin which is the tissue that connects various areas of the brain to one another grows rather rapidly so that sometime after the age of 25 the human brain becomes an integrated whole. The second woman and I were surprised that the age was 25 and not something like 18 or even 20. And, of course, it seems brain studies redefine the activities of the brain every time a new book comes out.
However the other woman said. "Just think of all we did before we were 25.
I agreed, "Falling in love, getting married, having children." We all nodded.
Said the woman, "I could have made such different decisions and my life would have been very different."
We all agreed. Nodding and thinking of first marriages all ending in divorce. But then we said, and totally agreed, "But then I wouldn't have the children I have. And they are wonderful people (all adults). I'd never wish them to not exist."
We were of a generation of women that married soon after college and immediately had children. Yes, we made decisions and choices then that now we know were ill informed, impulsive, hormone-driven, societally driven and sometimes just plain ignornat. We only came into being who we are later. We had pain and caused pain because of our "adolescent" decisions. But we learned much and the most tangible proof that it was not all a big, big mistake are the men and women (and the children they have had -- our grandchildren) who are fine people and a responsible members of their communities.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!