Being an adult is hard. We all know this. Being an adult is basically living with your parents (or other adultier adults), being nurtured and raised by them all your life until suddenly, you come home and your room is now a storage area and they’re telling you you can’t live here anymore. One minute, you’re sipping some cold Ribena and watching the KKB Show, and the next, you’re outside in the cold, alone, and it’s 2am and WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS? Worst of all is you can’t even remember how you got here.
It’s okay. Shh, shh. Stop sobbing. It’s alright, we’re here for you. Here,we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to successfully adulting in today’s world. And if you don’t find anything of use in this guide, think of things this way: at least it was funny and it’s taken your mind off how much you owe in bills and that awful stench you can’t seem to get out of your oven. Now, to the guide!
1. Be financially disciplined.
You know that feeling you get, when you’re out walking, or in a store, or even in bed, and you suddenly spot something amazing: it could be a dress, or a book or an amazing collector’s item. That amazing, fluttery feeling, when you check the price of this incredible thing, whatever it is, and you note, with instant delight, that you can buy it! You reach for your purse, or your ATM card, whilst trying to quell that tinny voice that sounds oddly like your mother, telling you that your account balance is in the red and maybe you shouldn’t buy this thing. That voice? Listen to it. That feeling? KILL IT. That feeling will quickly morph into despair and had-I-known when you’re drinking garri for 10 days straight, crying into your new fur coat.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy anything. What it means is that you should live according to your means. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you can afford it. Save money, if you can. My friends and I do this thing where we save every coin we get, even if it’s just 5 pesewas. By the end of the semester, when things are tight, we have something to fall back on. Don’t owe people habitually (pay your debts first), spend money too (on clothes, vacations, and day to day comfort, instead of just giving all your money out to other adults who are failing at adulthood)Buy the things you need. Being an adult is about being independent, so watch where your money goes, closely, so you can maintain that independence.
2. Clean up your messes, kindly.
This isn’t the kindergarten playground anymore, where you can blame that fat kid Joey for punching the wimpy kid and get away with it, scot-free. This shit is real life. When you make a mess, own up to it. Then clean it up. And even more crucial, don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept that you’re not perfect and you’re going to make mistakes. Be honest, be responsible, be a stand up guy. Be the kind of guy/girl that when you walk past, people say, ‘yeah, that’s Justin/Sade. She/he is a correct babe/guy!’
Learn to forgive yourself and others easily; this is a skill you will need till the day you die. Be kind to yourself. Things take time, so learn to be patient with yourself, and know that you will get there.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I know, I know. This is one of the hardest parts of adulting. It can physically hurt to say, ‘I’ve failed, please help me.’ But, friend, it’s good. We all get stuck in binds, so it’s natural to need help. You know when you step on a slippery spot, and you’re about to fall and your arms are flailing around, and you’re mortified? When someone saves you from falling, they grab one or both of your flailing arms and pull you back to your feet. That’s your body, unconsciously asking for help.
Asking for help doesn’t make you seem weak, or incapable; it means you’re able to recognize that things aren’t as they seem, and you can’t fix them on your own. And besides, nobody ever died from asking for help (now I’m not sure, so don’t quote me anywhere).
4. Move on as quickly as life does.
Life happens, and quickly too, whether you’re aware or not. And sometimes there can be things that attach themselves to you and hold you down, a la cement block dragging one to the bottom of the ocean. I want you to do a little bit for me. Come on, just a little bit. Take a good look at your life. Is there anything, anything at all dragging you backwards? It could be an unproductive job, unsupportive friends, those shoes you bought AGES ago that are now too small for you and now pinch your feet whenever you wear them which is often because, oh how you love them and can’t bear to throw them away. What is it you’ve found? Well, whatever it is,move on from it. No no, no lingering, no teary goodbyes. Move on swiftly. Anything unproductive in your life is something that should be cut out. Let the things and the people make you the best person that you can be, not suck out your life and joy like marrow from a bone.
5. Be prepared for shit.
Life happens and will constantly happen in spite of you, so be aware of that. And be aware that while you took that sick day off work to sit at home, weeping and binge watching reruns of Friends, your office ‘friend’ is gleefully taking the account/project/whatever that should have been yours. So be prepared for shitty things to happen. And not just prepared, but be ready to fight back against, well, everything.
6. Never let go of your inner child.
Children, besides being vile little monsters, are free. Children aren’t weighed down by the thoughts of how much weight they’re gaining, or if their idea is going to work or if that boy really likes them. When a child falls, he/she simply gets back up. So, do not let your inner child leave you. Never stop thinking with the unendingly optimistic mindset of a child. Let your inner child free you from bias and worry and fear.
Note: this doesn’t mean you can happily quit your job and stay at home all day playing Nintendo or whatever (I do not know what games the kids are playing this days and I was very bookish as a child, OK?), and blow off all your responsibilities because, inner child. No. So, walk back to your cubicle and sit your butt down. Now.
And a few added bonuses, which I’ve learned from my few months attempting to adult:
* Smile more.
* Make conversation with strangers at the bus stop and the supermarket about how foul the weather is and how prices have skyrocketed. I don’t know how this is actually adulting but I’ve seen successful adults AKA my parents do it, so.
* Apparently bursting into tears in public is now a no-no. You can however weep very discreetly into a hanky or sit in stony silence.
* I hear it’s all the rage these days to walk up to your crush and, get this, actually talk to him/her. No more stalking. (I know! Who comes up with these?!)
* Always, always yes to tea.