Nobody asks to be an adult with responsibilities. It’s hard and it’s confusing. Sometimes you just want your parents to cradle you and protect you from all the mean people out there. But it doesn’t have to be so dramatic. Adulting is manageable to the point where it’s actually enjoyable as you conquer the real world.
Whether growing up comes naturally to you or you don’t want to go there, it’s essential to learn the mannerisms and skills of a full-grown adult. Here are four tips to find the more responsible, well-rounded adult in you.
1 – Cooking
If takeout is your go-to, it’s time to don an apron and learn to cook. You should no longer rely on others for food. Learn the basics of stir fry, pasta and proteins. Follow author of “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps” Kelly Williams Brown’s advice on cooking:
Cook four dinners really, really well — a casual dinner, a meatless dinner, a traditional dinner and a wildcard international dinner.
Learn to cook chicken right (learn how not to overcook it).
Refine your grocery list to add the proper amount of produce, planned weeknight meal ingredients and packed lunches for work and family.
2 – Career Planning
It’s never too late to launch a new career or to join an industry that piques your interest. Whether you want to start your own business, open a franchise, move to a 9-5 or away from one, it’s important to define your career goals so you can start taking steps to reach them. One way to begin a new career and be financially sound simultaneously is to generate multiple streams of income to save while you’re putting in your time on the new path. Find freelance work opportunities with companies like Amway andElance to get you started.
3 – Health
While you may not feel like an adult mind and soul, your body is going there. The invincible life exists no more. You’re no longer a superhero who can live through anything. And, the doctor isn’t just a character on Grey’s Anatomy; he or she is an actual adult you need to see regularly. Start with 6-month cleanings at the dentist and yearly eye checkups. With this comes the need to exercise and eat somewhat healthy … one step at a time here.
4 – Budgeting
Budgeting is a tedious task. You must evaluate how much money you bring home and identify where your money is being spent. Following that eye-opening effort, you must figure out how that fits with your financial priorities and then cut your ongoing expenses to fit. Financial planner Jill Gianola recommends you take it easy on yourself and follow this more reasonable plan:
Use your after-tax income to determine your take home pay.
Track expenses for a few months (that means every single purchase). Categorize purchases (the Mint.com app can help with that).
Assess where your money is going and figure out where you can reduce spending.
Revise. You might set unrealistic goals initially, so it’s OK to go back and find a budget that works for you.
Some other things to learn as a full-blown adult include: saving money, investing, charity, volunteering, making a house a home, taking care of your car and having grown up conversations about all of these things.