It’s a great big world out there but you may feel like you’re drowning before you even make it to your front door. Adulting is the one class every student needs in school instead of Life Orientation because no-one tells you what it’s going to be like or how to build a credit score unless you ask. And by the time you ask, you’re really just looking for a lifeline.
Here are a few concepts to get acquainted with when “adulting” comes around for the first time.
It’s each person for themself
Gone are the days of sponging off big family meals in your parent’s house. You are responsible for keeping yourself clean, fed and alive, basically. Luckily for you, Google is around and loves giving advice. If you’re as broke as you likely will be at this stage of your life, find free recipes online for quick and easy dinner-for-one meals and ask for the Jamie Oliver recipe book for Christmas. It really isn’t that difficult throwing a meal together and don’t accommodate one meal at a time (unless you want to want to count the number of pasta shells you want to eat). Leftovers are a lunch’s saving grace.
And unless you can by some miracle afford a domestic helper, you will be cleaning up after yourself as well. Get into the habit of picking up after yourself and cleaning the kitchen as you go along preparing a meal. This will save you from walking into your place one day and not being able to see where the floor is or decipher where that awful smell is coming from. Incense can’t cover everything up. Be sure to give your place a good clean at least once a week and save yourself the embarrassment of a surprise visit from the parents.
An inviting living space
You can’t keep living like you’re still in a student house. We’ve established the cleaning routine that needs to be put in place but there’s more you need to think about when it comes to your living space.
Do you know that bathroom sets exist? Now that you do, do you know that you need one? It may seem like a trivial thing to decorate your bathroom (of all rooms) but if you think about it, that’s a room that everyone who visits will see. The prettier it is, the more comfortable everyone will feel and it gives off a great impression regarding your cleanliness and home style.
If you aren’t big on art and random decorative cat pieces, but also don’t want to feel like you’re living in a hospital wing, buy some indoor plants to put around your space. They’re simple, beautiful and will make you feel slightly better about adult life.
Job vs career
By now you should have a job. But what you need to start thinking about is your career. Adulting is stressful enough as it is, but to be stuck in a hectic job because it just covers your living costs is no way to live. You need to work on your career, working in a company and doing work that resonates with your passions and interests. This is important because it will give you the motivation you need to get up every morning and go to work with a smile on your face (and it’s okay if the smile only comes after a cup of coffee).
On the topic of work and earning a steady income, what you need do with that income – whether you are ready to accept it or not – is set up a budget. You need to pay rent, buy groceries, pay for utilities, pay off your car, put petrol in our car, pay your cellphone bill, buy extra data, feed your dog, pay for insurance, save some money and pay off your credit card, some on a monthly and others a weekly basis… Now breathe.
Be smart about it. Set up a budget and monitor where all your money goes and when. Now, what is left and what is the responsible thing to do with it? Understand that credit cards are not the answer to everything and always be realistic about what you “really need”.
You also need to come to terms with your credit score and how you’re going to make that happen so you can do all the insurance, renting, buying and general independant life things.
Lastly, before your brain explodes, a great way to master how to adult is to establish some good habits. Make sure you drink enough water every day. This will make your life happier and healthier in a general sense and your skin will look great.
You also need to try and keep up an exercise routine throughout the week. Early morning or in the evenings after work, go to the gym or do a home workout with a video. Staying active will give you that extra bit of energy you need to get through every day and you’ll also feel a lot better about yourself.
Never skip breakfast, have “me” time and try to do at least 15 minutes of something that makes you happy every day. You’ll get through it, don’t worry.