The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.Definition from Oxford Languages.
I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only one, who when they were younger thought that when they turned into an “Adult” everything would just…click. “Oh look, I know how to do my own laundry” “Wow, I know how to manage my money and pay my bills” “Amazing, look at this delicious dish, I’ve just made”. We’re all old enough now to know that actually, that’s not the case. Far from it.
Do you remember how daunting it was to make your own phone call to the doctors? I think that was the moment I realised, that I was considered an adult. Something as little as making your own doctors appointment. I remember looking at my mom in disgust, mouth open. “What? You don’t want me to do it for you, do you?” she said. Err, yes actually I do.
See the thing is, when we’re of teenage age, all we can’t wait to do, is get older. We know we’ll have more freedom to do things, for teenage girls this usually includes such things as:
- Going out clubbing.
- Staying out late and not having a curfew.
- Sleeping at your boyfriend’s house (not needing to get your friend to pretend you’re staying at hers, and like my mom asking to speak to their mom before hand) – Jesus, thank god those days are over.
- Drinking or Smoking freely.
- Leaving the house whenever and going wherever, without having to answer to anyone (my mom still always asks btw)
- Wearing what you want without being told to “Go and change, it looks like I’ve dragged you up”
- Overall, just being free to do whatever the hell you want.
As I write this blog, I’m reminiscing on teenage old me and smiling. Teenage adolescence seriously, what a phase. There were so many things that I wanted to do, that I’ve now done that I’m looking back at thinking, was that it? At the time no doubt, it was obviously really enjoyable and because you’ve waited so many years to do those things, they feel compelling.
I remember, I’d wanted my tongue pierced for ages and I knew my mom wasn’t going to let me and so I just decided that I was going to get it done without telling her (clearly I thought I wouldn’t speak to her for weeks) I can’t actually remember how old I was at the time, I think I may have been about 15? I went to the tattoo and piercings shop – Tommo’s it’s called, it’s still there till this day (please do not go there they’re not the most hygienic) and got it pierced. I was so in love with it!
I walked home after having it done, realising that there was no way in HELL, I’d be able to hide this from my mom as all I kept doing was dribbling and trying to suck the excess spit out of my mouth. I thought that if I was just upfront and honest, she’d have more respect for me. I mean, she couldn’t tell me to take it out as it was already pierced now and that was that. Well she could but still, I knew how mad she’d be if she found out on her own accord. I got back and showed her and she was NOT happy. She didn’t tell me to take it out but instead, she ordered Chinese food. The wicked woman did this so I wouldn’t be able to eat anything (it was a fresh sore piercing, I couldn’t eat much) but I could smell how good the food was… she got me good.
I love the freedom that I have as an adult, (the irony of writing this whilst in lockdown) looking back though, that thrill of going against your parents/guardian was riveting! I don’t know if I’m just a rebel by nature but it was an adrenaline rush, ‘Ah man, I’m probably going to be grounded but I’ll do it anyway’ was always my mindset because whatever I wanted to do, always seemed worth the risk, and every single time it was.
So apparently, the official age of becoming an adult is 18. Did anyone else receive this memo? Because I didn’t, I still haven’t. There’s certain tasks that I’ll do sometimes where I’m like ‘Woohoo, look at me I’m adulting’ but on a day to day basis, I still as though I’m not all there just yet in terms of being an adult-adult.
I guess you have to look at this on a case by case basis as most people my age drive, have children or have their own house. I don’t do/have any of those things. Less responsibility makes for a lesser “adult-y” feeling , I assume?
Why does no one tell you how quickly avocado goes from unripe to overripe? Or that you will never not be tired again for the rest of your life? These sort of things seem to go amiss when you are classed as a responsible adult.
In past years, I have actually started to take pride in Adulting and completing the usual boring mundane tasks that teenage me would’ve laughed at.
Of a Sunday, I enjoy cleaning, putting clean clothes away, hoovering and other room chores that I used to despise. “It’s the productivity for me” – I know it may seem like minor tasks, but I genuinely feel a sense of ownership and take pride in what I’ve done and nothing is better than burning a candle in a clean room of a Sunday, the best.
I started working at 18 years old (an advanced apprenticeship) which had a really good salary, I would get paid and spend £200 on Mac Makeup or £200 on clothes from ASOS that I really didn’t need. It’s infuriating to think about! I didn’t have a clue about money management or budgeting and so I’d spend a load of money on what I wanted and ignore the direct debits I had and then I wouldn’t have enough money to pay my bills. I ended up in a load of debt because of it (that I still pay off to this day) that could easily have been avoided, had I have had the essential guidance given by firstly, schools and secondly my family.
It’s imperative that the younger generation are taught these essential life skills as soon as they are old enough to understand, say maybe 15. It’s imperative that schools and family members teach us HOW to live. More millennials are living at home now, than at any other time of the century. Why? We haven’t been shown how to save, the benefits of saving and why it’s so damn important and so therefore we don’t have a deposit for a car in our bank, let alone a house!
Social Media has started to teach us that we MUST look a certain way and so we spend money on lip fillers, boob jobs and BBLs instead of investing in ourselves for our future. We’re not taught how to save for a house, how to avoid debt, what interest free credit cards are, or how insurance works along with so many other important life competencies that we so desperately need to know!
I had an accident in my first car when I was 19 years old, I think it was probably about 2 months after I had taken the car out on HP and my car was nearly a write off. I had to fork out £850 in excess in order to get my car fixed. £850?! I didn’t have this money and to be honest, I don’t think majority of the people my age at the time would have either. I didn’t have a scooby how insurance worked and so when I was asked to pay that, I sat in the car garage office and cried on the phone to my mom about how I was going to get to work the next day without a car, long story short, she paid it and the courtesy car was delivered.
With the on-going increase of house prices and the general cost of living and the on-going advancement of technology and social media, it is of vital importance that Generation Z (the generation after us, 1996+) are taught to be independent, self-sufficient individuals with lots of life knowledge and know-how. If not, I fear they are going to end up more arrogant, entitled a-holes then what they already seem to be #sorrynotsorry, living at home until they are over 40 with no ambition, no money but not caring as they have 30k insta followers…
The truth is, although there seems like there’s adultier-adults and adults that look as though they are adulting more successfully than we are, they don’t have their bearings together as much as we think they do. Being an adult is basically like playing snakes and ladders. It’s an on-going, ever-changing cycle of starting to think that you have your life together and then something happening that makes you feel like you don’t and then the same thing over and over again until we’re dead.
I used to think that we would get to a certain age and everything would balance out. Finances, successful career, big house and a nice car and that would kind of be it. It’s never going to be like that though is it? There’s always going to be something that goes wrong, from your break light not coming on to making someone your everything to be dumped a few days later. It’s life, and life happens all the time.
I find that as I don’t feel too “Adult-Like” currently, I really take advantage of that feeling. I’m made tea in the mornings before work, packed lunches packed and my bed made when I come back accompanying my clean washing. My mom has done these things for me for so long now that I’ve definitely started to take it for granted and when it stops, I’m going to feel it, as I’ve allowed this sort of “Her Royal Highness” treatment (my mom actually calls me HRH) to go on for far too long.
But why not bask in all of this pre-adulting life whilst we can? Why not take up these free offers whilst they are there?
I’ve seen what adulting is like and there more than enough responsibilities for my liking. Let’s embrace this whilst we can before we have our own kids to make tea in the morning or own laundry to do after work. If I’ve learnt anything from being a an adult, it’s that life is far too short. So savor every moment.
There are many things that I’ve had to learn the hard way since being an adult but here are a few of the mains one that I wish I was told:
- Get a credit card – Now when I say this, I don’t mean go and take out a gold platinum account credit card with a £10k limit to splurge out on. I mean a credit building credit card with a small limit I’d probably recommend £100-£500 (mine is £150) so when life happens, which it does, you have some back up funds to use that you can use that you don’t have to use your disposable income for. Also by having a small limit and paying this back on time, in full every month (if you can afford it, don’t strain yourself) will help to build up your credit score, which btw is also very important!
- Take care of your credit score – Yet again, another important thing that I wasn’t told about. Your credit score is so important! It allows you to take out phone contracts, mortgages, rent a place and other things that you wouldn’t even imagine. It even needs to be good for some specific jobs! One late payment can last on your credit file for 6 years, let alone defaults or anything else. Make your payments on time, set up direct debits and keep to them. Really think about your finances and if you can afford to take out an agreement before committing yourself because trust me, you think you’ve got away with it, but the past soon catches up. My credit score got ruined before it was even needed. I have late payments, defaults, all that you can imagine. It’s been 7 years now and it’s still sitting at poor. (Fml)
- Save some of your salary – This isn’t one that I’m all too great at just yet I’ll admit, but I have started and so I guess that’s something (Leah can vouch for that). It was something my nan always used to tell me, “A wise man, saves 1/3 of his salary”. All teenage-early adulthood you cares about, is buying hair extensions and concealer so you don’t listen, but you wish you did. I’m 25 and I’d love to have thousands in the bank. All of those material things I’ve bought don’t matter anymore, what have I got to show for them a part from an empty bank account? If you save some of your salary each month, week you’ll feel overjoyed in 6 or 12 months time when you can splash on those designer trainers you bought or book a holiday, trust me it’s worth it.
- Some times they’ll be rejection – I’ve had rejections from job interviews, friends and left heart broken by ex-lovers and at the time it feels like the worst thing to happen. How? Why has this happened to me? Rejection is normal and it helps you to build character. You learn that “You can be anything you want to be” in school isn’t as easy as you’d imagined but you take it with a pinch of salt, wipe the tears away and move the f on, because life waits for no-one and along with those rejections, there will be a whole load of acceptations too! (Hindsight is a wonderful thing, you’ll look back and be grateful that you were rejected).
- Accept that people are in different stages of their life to you – It’s crazy, when you’re in school you kind of see everyone as your equal in the sense that you’re all in the same year and you’ll go on to sixth form or college at the same time and graduate at the same time etc. When you leave education, you notice that you’ll start to wonder if so and so’s better than you because she’s got her driving license now or if someone else is better than you because they’ve got a full time job at a great place. It will happen, you’ll think those things and that’s completely normal. What you have to realise is, things happen for you when you are ready for them, the universe will bless you when you’re ready to be blessed. This is your life, you are on your own journey and you aren’t the same as anyone else, so don’t compare yourself to them as you’re only in competition with yourself and yourself only.
- Take care of your mental health – As you all probably by know I’m a huge advocate for taking care of your mental health because I know how much of a toll it can take on your personal life. If you feel like there is something triggering your mental health whether that be your lover, a friend, a situationship, social media or I don’t know your favorite genre of TV – CUT IT OFF. I’ve done this recently by deleting snapchat and I can’t tell you a better time I’ve felt less anxious – It won’t eliminate how you feel completely (I mean it might, amazing if it does) but you’ll feel much healthier. It will hurt and you’ll hate it but I promise you, your future self will be blowing you a million kisses.
So there you have it. It seems like more of a rant than a blog admittedly but someone had to say it. Enjoy feeling young at heart and not having life figured out yet, that’s the beauty of life. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of responsibilities when the time comes but for now, “Take it easy“.
In addition, the younger generation is being set up essentially to fail and now that we have lived through this ourselves, we know better than to let the guidance and nurturing go amiss. Sure, it’s not entirely our parent’s fault that we didn’t get taught these things, it starts with the systems put in place purposely designed to make us fail and dependable but that’s a conversation for another day, all in all let’s be the change we want to see and make adulting easier for those that are next to come.
Ciao for now,