What exactly does "being mature" or "maturity" mean?

Zanardi

Woodpecker
This is a question that has been bugging me forever (I am 37) and I am yet to find a satisfactory answer. This is because I got so many answers that are either:
  1. Ambiguous;
  2. Make me feel they have an agenda behind (something like: mom wants me not to go out that often, so she tells me that a mature person goes out less often);
  3. Easy to counter-argument (something like: being mature means having a family. Beside the fact that I feel a family is the consequence of maturity, this also means that almost the entire planet is made out of mature people).
Also, Wikipedia says that:

In psychology, maturity is the ability to respond to the environment being aware of the correct time and location to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.

Well, isn't this the definition of life experience?

Another answer that I recall being given to me is that a mature person is serious. Ironically, this answer was given by a person that almost never laughs or smiles, so I am confused about what serious means to him.

All in all, I still have no clue what maturity means, other that it's a very good thing to have. Maybe you'll shed some light upon me in this aspect.

Thanks.
 
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Aboulia

Woodpecker
Taking on responsibility, and being responsible.

Edit: and no, that Wikipedia definition isn't just life experience, it's looking at a situation, examining it, and determining how to act properly, rather than just never learning from mistakes. Maturity is the opposite of childish-ness, for a child has no idea how to act, that's why you see small children spend time just watching adults.
 
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Maturity and life experience are not 1 on 1. You can be very mature by the knowledge you've gained through elders, your family, your community etc. without having to put your hand on the stove to find it burns your hand, as so many of us without proper traditional guidance have experienced again and again. Maturity is a set of mind where you are capable to deal with the difficulties, issues and problems of life without breaking or having a serious impact on your mental state. It's toughness to a great extend, and being able to see risks beforehand so not to make the stupid mistakes that basically our entire society is setting us on to make.

Nowadays we don't have a rite to maturity anymore. I'm in my late 20s in many regards still feeling like a child, gaining knowledge that I feel that every 18 year old in times of yesteryear would have known by default. That is the tragedy of our time. But we can't complain, we have to stand up and make it happen for ourselves with the help of God.
 
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