When you study, you are constantly having to make choices. Will you go to today’s lecture or not? Will I take out the highest possible loan with DUO or take a job alongside my study? And if I work, how will I organise the rest of my time?

Unfortunately, your textbooks provide no advice about what might be your best option. You have to find that out yourself. But it’s difficult to choose, and the older you get, the more difficult it seems to get.

Decisions automatically involve responsibility, and responsibility is associated with adulthood. According to the Van Dale, ‘adult’ means the same as ‘mature’. I think that it means something quite different, although I’m not quite sure what. Perhaps ‘sensible’ is the nearest meaning.

Fewer poor choices

In general, I make quite sensible choices: I prepare for my exams properly, I try to build up a CV alongside my studies and I do things that I enjoy at moments that suit me. Sometimes I go to a midweek concert, but I always wear earplugs. On the other hand, I don’t mind eating spaghetti with mayonnaise if I don’t feel like doing any shopping.

I finally rid myself of the illusion that people who are older than me always transcend my level of adulthood when I first saw Alexander Pechtold and Geert Wilders debating with each on television. Yet respecting the elderly is a widespread custom. Because: ‘wisdom comes with the years’. But the fact that older people have more life experience than young people doesn’t necessarily mean that they are wise – let alone mature. They just make fewer poor choices.

When is a person mature? Is it something to do with a physical state? Or is it impossible to say, because every human body changes until it dies. In that sense, change is synonymous with life, but whether you can call all change growth is debatable. The poet J.C. Bloem even wrote: “every change is deterioration, even an improvement.”

I don’t know what to conclude, and probably all this confusion will always make it difficult to act as a sensible, mature adult. But maybe I’ll obtain new insights when I eat my spaghetti with ketchup in future.