When you were a kid, you believed anyone over the age of approximately 21 was a fully-fledged adult, with a car and a house and their shit together. You set wildly futuristic deadlines for yourself, like obviously being married with at least two kids by the age of 27.
And yet... here you are. Quite probably underperforming against the expectations of your childhood self.
But it's time to give yourself a break, because science has news for you, and that news is: you're not a fully-formed adult until you reach your 30s. Not where your brain is concerned, anyway.
Speaking publicly recently, a neuroscientist from Cambridge University, Professor Peter Jones, revealed that new research suggests people don't become fully "adult" until they're in their 30s.
The brain scientist said that "to have a definition of when you move from childhood to adulthood looks increasingly absurd," because "it’s a much more nuanced transition that takes place over three decades," reports the BBC.
This new perspective on the maturing brain gives some context as to why mental health issues are most commonly diagnosed in teenagers and young adults. While the brain is still developing, it serves as a gateway for the onset of mental illness, but when it settles into its matured state, the risk of such disorders emerging is reduced.
While the law currently deems a person adult the moment they turn 18, this new perspective from the world of neuroscience illustrates that it's far more complex than that. Individuals mature at differing speeds, meaning the age at which you become adult is actually different for everyone.
"There isn't a childhood and then an adulthood. People are on a pathway, they're on a trajectory," Professor Peter Jones added.
Well, phew, is all I can say. Now the pressure's off, we can continue responding childishly to social situations and making terrible life choices for a few years longer.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.