Maturity & the Curse of the Modern Era

Maturity is a topic that has confused me for a very long time. I've been told by some people that I was very mature for my age, just to turn around and be told that I was acting immature and childish in the next moment. Because I'm a guy, it was also stipulated in my developing years that ANY girl was more mature than me simply on the basis of gender.
So what changes? What causes people to become 'mature'? Is it something people should be striving for, or does it just happen to you and forcing it would be futile?
A lot of the people who have opined that I should already have matured by the age of 22 are also the types who think I should be married with kids planned. This would imply that maturity is not a goal to be sought after, but merely a side effect of life's big changes. Getting married and settling down would immediately lump bill payment, home management, and the concerns of my significant other on my shoulders in a way never before experienced. Would that mature me?
Some other people seem to define my maturity based upon the age of the people whose company I most enjoy. In this category everyone in my life would have a disadvantage because they don't see me everywhere.
At school I interact in a constructive and intelligent manner with peers around my own age and professors of varying years. Does matching individuals my own age show an average maturity?
At work I am the youngest in my section, so am forced to converse regularly with an older crowd. In this I've learned about and from their life experiences and merged some of their advice and lessons into my own concepts of the future. Does this ability show a developing or advanced maturity?
At church I am faced with a variety of people. I can discuss politics and of course religion with people twice my age and hold my own well enough. Then again I can also be quite entertaining to small children. It's not a talent I purposed for, but one I've found suits me. I enjoy making others happy and living in the moment on occasion instead of worrying constantly about the future. That's what being a kid is all about: shedding one's worry and not focusing always on the consequences of one's actions. Does the syncing of old and young crowds show a fickle nature that implies a poor level of maturity?
Also, while no one person sees me in all of the above environments, I still reject this notion of maturity on the basis that it is a social construct. Don't get me wrong: many useful and important things in our world are social constructs. But by and large I interact with as few of these things as possible. My belief system supports the existence of absolutes. In fact, the world we all live in supports the existence of absolutes, but that is for an entirely different and more serious time and place. So seeking after the current definition of maturity seems fraught with potential problems. What would stop maturity from being redefined if someone actually reached the current definition?
And what happens when I become mature by everyone's definition? Do I cease to laugh as often, because I can no longer find the lame jokes of small children funny? Would I begin alienating those who liked me for my fun-loving side? Studies have been done showing that adults out of college continue to binge drink and go out to parties on the weekends. They don't actively seek marriage and children until they're almost in their 30's. So the social construct for maturity in this instance supports that I'm probably way ahead of the game. That's 8 years away and I already don't binge drink or go to parties. Not that I stopped, merely that I never started.
My real sense of maturity is that it happens as life goes on. As you move out on your own and responsibility increases, your maturity will grow with your years and life experiences. If and when you get married and have kids, that responsibility also matures you. So this supports the concept of maturity happening to you, or says that your ability to cope with these circumstances define your maturity. Either way, it's nothing to be sought after actively. As a Christian and as a man, I should seek to glorify God, maintain my testimony, and share my joy and happiness with those around me no matter their age.
Therefore (and using that word does make me feel like this is a research paper or something), I believe in this category I am just fine. I can discuss lofty issues with people my own age and much older and hold my own. I can handle my current life stresses without cracking to the pressure. And last but in some ways most importantly, I can enjoy the company of children and help make their days a little bit better. On this note, I wish you all pleasant days filled with childish joy.