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Ryan Bakken, Forum News Service, Published March 04 2013

Ryan Bakken: Immaturity never gets old

GRAND FORKS - So, I’m on the couch, reading my Sunday Grand Forks Herald, when I spot a reference in a story to “mature adults.”

Hmmm. I wonder how the writer knows the adults in the story are mature. Could they actually be immature, but are good at disguising it?

Then I realize that “mature” is being used as a euphemism for “older.” Has “mature adult” become the new “senior citizen?”

I hope not. I don’t want to be considered mature on any level.

When my circle of boyhood friends gets together for the fun ABCs — athletics, beer, cards — we pride ourselves on acting immature. We aren’t resigned to life in a Barcalounger yet.

It’s not an irresponsible, attention-seeking, “Hangover” movie type of immaturity. It’s frivolous, chuckle-infested immaturity. Harmless, in other words.

I think most people of my vintage agree with me. Mature suggests stodgy. People north of 55 don’t want to be stodgy. We want to be lively, quirky, maybe even eccentric.

Besides, maturity carries a sense of dread. When a bond matures, you cash it in. When crops mature, you harvest them.

We don’t want to be harvested. We want to be cultivated.

Maybe I’m just in denial about this never-ending aging process. I confess that I’m baffled about how I could have reached my 60s so quickly. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I arrived at the Herald at age 21, with hair down to my shoulders, to say nothing of it also occupying the top of my noggin?

However, I don’t have a suggestion of how we should be characterized. I feel more like a junior citizen than the senior variety. And, “mature” is clearly out of my reach.

For a while, there was a movement to have older folks characterized as “experienced citizens.” This led to cracks that “experienced” meant “promiscuous.”

So, sorry, I don’t have the magic word for people who are older-than-average. Maybe we can invent one.

Any suggestions?