In the past few months I have been told that I look 35 some even said 40, this is something that has made me very sad, considering that I am only 28. So I confessed this anguished feeling to a friend while at dinner. Hoping to cheer me up, she made a very interesting comparison between me and a common friend, that lead me to question the actual meaning of maturity. She said that “although I have the same age as our friend, I seem much older; but this isn’t a question of physical appearance, but how you project yourself to others and your projection is of an older, perhaps more mature person”. Based on this I had a little epiphany that I would like to share with you.

When I was 20 years old I visited Japan and as any normal tourist would do, I visited dozens of temples and saw innumerable images of Buddha. But only recently I learnt that in all those images he is sitting on a blooming lotus flower. From what I understand the lotus is a representation of enlightenment, and to meditate on a blossomed lotus brings harmony into all aspects of our being. This little piece of information had a strong impact on my appreciation of Buddha and the lotus flower. But I only learnt this after eight years of my first contact with the image.

Our lack of knowledge, understanding and experience blurs our road to profound happiness. Something that we are able to achieve only after we can appreciate life’s simple pleasures. I guess the actual meaning of maturity is when we, as the lotus flowers, blossom at the delicate touches of the sun rays. But better than me to explain this is Haruki Murakami; in the introduction of his book Norwegian wood he exemplified this feeling beautifully. He tells us that when he returned to Germany for the first time after 20 years he could remember vividly a stroll he had with Naoko over a meadow. He was surprised at himself for remembering so many details of the stroll, but he only realized the importance of the event 20 years later.

I guess this brings me to the second level of maturity, perhaps the most difficult to achieve: recovering from the painful regrets of our past actions and inactions and to use those regrets as stepping stones in our search for true and profound happiness. I personally; deeply regret avoiding small moments of happiness I could have had with Mika, mainly because...

to be continued.

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