Being a grown up. Acting like an adult. Growing up in general.
All of these things that people say we must do once we leave high school to be adults in the real world. The only problem with this is that being an adult usually doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.
I mean, there may be some people who think that adulting looks a lot like something out of Friends the TV series, but I really hate to burst that bubble – if you spend that much time sitting in a coffee shop with friends I’m either worried, or really need to find out how you’re managing to pull off that kind of lifestyle.
Being an adult supposedly means doing annoying things like taxes and not having time to do what you love, but that isn’t usually the case. Being an adult, at least how I define it, is being able to look after yourself. It means you can live independently without worrying that things will fall to pieces and doing that isn’t too much hard work. Doing that just involves learning a few skills that can help you be an adult while still maintaining all the fun-loving things that you did when you didn’t have to worry about things like budgets and dishes.
The best time to learn all of this is just before you leave high school because once you leave high school and go to university or start your own life, you begin transitioning into adulthood. However, it is never too late to learn them and maybe now is just the time for you! The skills I mentioned below are supposedly adult skills, but are essential and will help you live independently once you finish high school. Here are ten tips for adulting 101.
I’m sure that when you lived at home, you didn’t have to do everything for yourself (this is an assumption though so if I’m wrong, please don’t take offense). Once you start adulting and living on your own, you will have your own space to take care of, and as much as we would all love it if little housekeeping fairies came and cleaned everything while we slept, sadly that isn’t the world we live in. It’s essential to know basic housekeeping – things like being able to do dishes, make your bed and in general, keep your living space clean.
I know that this seems like something so basic and that everyone can do, but sometimes it is never necessary until all of a sudden we need to do it ourselves and I came to university and met some people who had never done dishes before so anything is possible. Trust me, basic housekeeping skills and staying on top of it will be something you appreciate down the line, especially when you don’t continually come home to a messy space with piles of dirty dishes and a lingering odour of something foul that you just can’t place.
Laundry and drying
Being able to do your own washing and drying is another skill that I don’t think a lot of us learn early enough, but it is definitely something crucial for adulting. Take the time before you leave home to get some help and figure out how to do laundry and more importantly, HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!!
For example, remember you need to separate whites from colours, know what type of clothes need to be washed cold or hot, learn how to remove different stains, remember to turn certain clothes with printed lettering etc. inside out before washing, and know how best to wash and dry your clothes without shrinking them. There is nothing wrong with asking for help because that is a hell of a lot better than ending up with a half-empty cupboard because your colours bled or you shrunk all your clothes.
How to cook
It is an essential skill, no matter which way you look at it. By cooking though, I don’t mean putting ready-made meals in the microwave or being able to make toast or instant noodles. You can’t survive on canned soups, microwave meals, takeouts and toast.
You don’t have to become a master chef, but being able to make a meal or two from scratch is a good idea. Homemade food is usually a lot healthier than ready-made food, but you will also feel a lot more satisfied eating a meal that you cooked yourself. Pick a few meals that you enjoy (and that are relatively healthy and can be made low-budget) and learn how to cook them well. Who knows, you might find a secret love for cooking and actually become a master chef? Also, because I know all students are thinking about budgeting (by that I mean keeping things cheap), cooking batch meals at home is far cheaper than any other sustainable way to food yourself!
Learning how to budget is always a useful skill, especially when you are living by yourself. Whether you are earning money through a job/part-time job or are living off an allowance, being able to manage your money accordingly is super important. You don’t have to learn about fancy accounting, but it is vital to learn how to be aware of how much money you have available, how much money you regularly spend and how to make sure you don’t end up falling into debt.
Another useful thing you should learn under budgeting is how to do basic shopping (for things like grocery shopping and home supplies) with limited money. You have to eat and do your cleaning, so splurging on fancy meals for an entire week and then ending up with nothing for the rest of the month is not a great way to live. How to avoid this is to learn how to budget your money so that you can still enjoy yourself without winding up in trouble. Online banking is another useful skill to add to that list because you’ll be sending money to different people at some point, might as well figure out how to do it right so it’s not a stress when the time comes.
Time management is a skill we are all desperate for, especially if it means we can do a hundred things at once without collapsing from exhaustion. Unfortunately, this is not humanly possible, at least to my knowledge. Regular time management, as in being able to manage your time accordingly based on things you have to do and downtime, is possible. All it takes, though, is a bit of effort (yes I sound like a mom leave me alone!!)
Being able to manage your time is a great skill to learn early on because you will be able to have a less stressful experience post the more relaxed attitude of high school. Time management means you will not have to work yourself up into a state of anxiety over academics and work because you will have it under control, but it also means that you can still enjoy your time and have a life that includes doing things you love. I know getting that balance right sounds like an impossible fairy tale, but I know from experience that it is possible. It just takes some (a lot) of dedication and a positive mindset.
Basic first aid
Say you accidentally cut yourself while in your room or you burn your hand while utilising your newly found cooking skills. What are you going to do? Basic first aid means you can deal with small issues like that without needing to dash to the nearest hospital. I’d highly recommend doing a basic first aid course (not just figuring out what to do or watching youtube videos) because at least you are adequately qualified to treat yourself. It’s not a necessity, and you can certainly live independently without being able to deal with specific small-scale injuries, but it is just a useful skill to have under your belt. You know, in case of emergencies. If a first aid course isn’t possible, some tutorials for dealing with basic home injuries is very useful – I’ve certainly had use for them when I cut my finger open fixing a drawer, or a friend dropped a put of boiling pasta water on their hand, or had a really painful splinter.
Have you ever wanted to wear a specific outfit and then realised a button is loose or missing and now you can’t wear it? Well, one way to move past this particular obstacle is to have some basic sewing skills at the ready.
Now, I would be hard-pressed to knit a scarf or sew a massive hole in one of my shirts, but I’m sure most people would also and being able to do that is not truly necessary. What is a useful sewing skill is to be able to fix button problems or small holes – everything bigger than that qualifies to ask for more experienced assistance. So if you have time on your hands, you might want to ask someone to teach you how to thread a needle and sew on buttons. You never know when an adventurous button might escape your grip and need sorting out. A huge shout to my dad and gran for teaching me such necessities!
Simple home repairs
Now this, by all means, doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert repairman, electrician and plumber because people spend years practising those trades just to be above average. There is no way you can expect to acquire all of those same skills in such a short period. Especially because it is super dangerous and not only can you make the problem worse, you can also get seriously hurt and that is never good!
What you should want to learn, though, especially if you are going to be living alone, is how to deal with basic home repairs. This can be anything from changing a light bulb to filling a crack to putting a picture up on the wall. I know that doing these things can sound quite challenging and definitely something an amateur can’t handle on their own, but once you know what to do, then it is actually quite easy. I’m living alone in a flat and I’ve changed light bulbs, fixed a humidifying fan and a drawer, hung up pin boards and set up appliances. There’s no shame in calling a friend but let me tell you there is nothing as satisfying as being able to just crack on and do it yourself.
Okay I know I’m edging into the mom field once again so bear with me. Once you leave the quite structured grip of high school, and potentially home, you will find that you don’t have people checking up on you and telling you what to do and when as much anymore. Now at first, this may seem like you’ve won the lottery, but soon you might miss the structure mentioned above. The right way to handle the transition is to have learnt the art of self-discipline, which will be beneficial to you in more ways than you can imagine. Self-discipline can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, time manage appropriately, get your work done, enjoy yourself but also know when enough is enough. Yes, it may sound like a very bland, boring thing to do, but it is a skill that can see you through and ensure that you can be successful while still having a good time.
This, as arbitrary as it sounds, could probably be the most critical skill you can learn in terms of adulting 101. It is crucial to be able to look after yourself and not just in terms of not starving and staying safe. You need to remember to look after your health, both physical and mental, and this means being aware of your nutrition, your sleep cycles and your emotions. If you are feeling stressed out, and this will most likely occur more than once, then it is okay to take some time out to look after yourself. Do something that relaxes you, make sure you are getting enough sleep and do things that put a smile on your face. There is no point in learning all of these skills if you aren’t able to have a good life. If you only take one skill away from this blog post, then please let it be this one.
So there you have it. Whether you are about to leave home for the first time, are going on an extended vacation by yourself or have already started your own life and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, I hope that this advice has been helpful to you. Being independent can seem a little intimidating, so I hope that at the very least this blog post has taken the edge off and shown you that with just a few skills, you can easily manage to live independently. For my questions today:
- Do you have any adulting 101 tips to give out? Any would be appreciated!
- Do you have any exciting stories of adulting gone wrong?
I’ve lived by myself on and off for three years now so I have all manner of adulting stories gone wrong! Some of my funniest though may be trying to assemble a tv cabinet without a screwdriver, accidentally shrinking my favourite pair of jeans, and attempting to fix a bathroom appliance standing on my toilet and falling into said toilet. A scary story would be slitting my finger open when trying to fix a drawer, but hey I had the first aid skills to ensure I didn’t bleed out on my kitchen floor so that’s a positive right?
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this post, and found it helpful! I’m thinking of doing a similar adulting post, but more specifically centered around skills you would need living in halls/dorm rooms or at university (so maybe a little less intense than these, and a bit more fun and inclusive) – what do you think about that?? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section, and I apologise for being awful with comments this week I have been battling a bad case of fresher’s flu that has had me off my game but I’m on the mend now so I’ll be catching up!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx