We Are All Still Teenagers

Science, what excuse can you give me for my inappropriate behaviors today?

The brain does not stop developing until we are in our 30s or 40s — meaning that many people will still have something of the teenager about them long after they have taken on the responsibilities of adulthood. The finding, from University College London, could perhaps help explain why seemingly respectable adults sometimes just can’t resist throwing a tantrum or sulking until they get their own way. The discovery that the part of the brain key to getting on with others takes decades to fully form could perhaps also explain why some people are socially awkward well past their teenage years.

This actually ties in somewhat nicely with something an elderly uncle told me on my 35th birthday: “That’s the perfect age. You know who you are, but it’s not too late to do something about it.” Still, I have mixed feelings about these findings. The idea that I still have the irrational, self-defeating impulses of a teenager is incredibly depressing, because, my God, what an awful time. On the other hand, the fact that we’re all still teenagers totally explains why nobody understands me and how sensitive and brilliant I am and they just don’t get it and it’s so unfair. I knew there had to be a reason.