Apparently, the ability to delay gratification is a sign of both emotional and social maturity.
I think my elementary school went a tad overboard trying to mature me.
At the end of my second grade year at Post Elementary School in Jersey Village, all the kids gathered in the auditorium for an end of the year party. We ran around the gym wild and free, anticipating a summer full of days spent having tea parties at the bottom of the community pool. Those long days filled with glorious nothing-ness were almost upon us.
So we celebrated.
I still remember the moment it happened. The moment I won the biggest door prize at the party.
I had been walking the circle of numbered papers on the floor, hoping my number would be called as the winner of the cake walk and dreaming about which sweet treat I would choose if luck smiled my way.
And then, luck smiled big. My mom ran over to tell me that my name had been announced as the grand prize winner. I was stunned. I ran from the cake walk to the stage to claim my prize, leaving those sweet treats in the dust. I could hardly breathe I was so excited. I was literally dizzy.
They announced my prize: a $50 U.S. Savings Bond.
I couldn’t believe it. $50! That was an entire year’s worth of allowance to a 2nd grader. I could not believe my good fortune. From that point on, anytime our recess-chatter turned to finances I was sure to mention that I had over $50 to my name. I felt so rich.
Apparently, I did need a big dose of maturity.
Little did I know how little my savings bond was actually worth at that moment. It was kind of a foreign concept to an 8 year old that the little piece of paper had to accrue value through interest over time. My mom told me that it had to mature before it would be worth the full $50.
There is a theme here.
My savings bond is still immature. It won’t reach its potential until 2022. I will be 38 years old. And at that point I will officially consider myself a mature person. I’d hoped to reach the milestone of maturity a bit sooner than that but hey, this is how long my elementary school thought it should take. And who am I to argue, they’re professionals.
I pulled out the bond recently and though back to how reach it had made me feel in my younger days. Now I know the sad truth of just how little it will be worth with inflation by 2022. It’s kind of depressing.
That was the moment I decided that upon my bond’s maturity in 2022, I’m going to spend it on the things I would have spent it on back in 2nd grade.
Ice cream, candy cigarettes, and a slip and slide.
I don’t know if it is the most mature choice to waste the money on childhood fancies but I figure- that poor 2nd grader has been patient enough, and it’s time she got to spend her prize.
Or at least it will be time, 12 years from now.