Have you ever taken a minute to scroll through the #adulting hashtag on Twitter? If so, you’ll think being an adult is the hardest thing ever. It’s no piece of cake, I’ll admit that! However, it’s a normal part of life that doesn’t really deserve as much kudos as it gets. So, what do people consider to be adulting?
Things like cooking dinner, doing laundry, cleaning the house, running errands. You know, day-to-day stuff that most of us do without thinking about it. The Urban Dictionary defines adulting as “to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.”
How to Act Like a Real Grown Up
Acting like a grown-up (or, “adulting” as we like to call it now) isn’t really that hard. If you want to rock it and really feel good about yourself, here are 10 things to work on starting right now!
1. Find a calendar system that actually works for you.
Nothing makes you feel like you have your act together more than when you’re organized. I used to brag about how I could keep up with everything in my head and claim that I didn’t need a calendar. Then, I started flaking on plans, forgetting birthdays, and losing my to-do lists.
Finally, I broke down and bought my first planner, and I realized just how much of a difference it really makes! Personally, I’m a paper and pen kind of planner. I like nice paper, washi tape, and pretty colors. To me, I feel like I will look at it more if it looks pretty, so it’s turned into a full-on hobby.
If you’re not a pen and paper person, or if you prefer a bullet journal format, that’s great! The important thing is to find a system that works well for you, so you can keep track of your schedule.
2. Learn all of your log-in information.
This one was a hard one for me! Back before I ran a business and paid all my bills online, it was really no big deal. Now, I have approximately 50 passwords to keep up with. Some require an uppercase letter, some requre special characters. Some don’t allow special characters at all! So now, they’re all different. I had to find a solution before I lost my mind.
My answer was to create a simple password tracker to put in my planner! I keep the log-in info for all of our bills, the bank, and other personal accounts on one, and I keep everything for my blog and business on another. It makes life so much simpler! (As long as I don’t lose my planner, that is).
If you don’t have your own password tracking printable, you can grab mine by signing up right here!
3. Keep a budget.
Yep. If you want to be an adult, it’s time to finally keep a budget. It sounds overwhelming, but I promise you, you’ll feel much more in control! Without a budget, your money just flies out of your account seemingly without any input from you. With a budget, you tell your money where to go. With a little luck, you’ll even have some extra left over at the end of the month!
I’ve created ramen noodle budgets, and I’ve even created a luxury budget. (My idea of luxury is a new car, not a mansion or diamonds, by the way). A budget is effective, no matter how much or how little you make. In fact, we paid off a mountain of debt at a time in our lives when we didn’t have a dime left in our accounts at the end of the week! If you want to get better at adulting, you really need to work on creating (and keeping) a budget.
Need help? You can read all about mine right here.
4. Pay your bills.
Remember back in college and in your early 20’s (for those of us that moved out at 18, anyway) when you just aimed for keeping the electricity on? Well, I in case you didn’t realize, that’s not actually the responsible way to do it. Those “due by” dates mean a lot, and can affect your standing with companies! Plus, you save a lot of money in late fees if you just pay it before it’s due.
Having trouble getting your bill paying on a good schedule? I’m no pro, but I’ll share what we do!
At the back of every month in my Inkwell Press planner, there is a page for notes and goals. Instead, I use this as my budget page. I write every bill that we pay, along with the date it’s due. Then, I figure out which bills need to be paid with each paycheck, and total that amount.
On payday, I sit down and pay my bills first. That way, the money is out of my account and can’t be spent on anything else.
This system has helped us stay on top of our bills and manage our budget. A true adulting success!
5. Mind your own business.
The older I get, the more important I realize this is. Getting involved in someone else’s drama is just more than I need these days, so I try to stay out of as much as I can. Stop worrying about what other people are doing, and take all of that energy and time to dedicate to crushing your own life goals. You’ll be amazed at how far you can come when you stop worrying about those around you!
6. Get enough sleep.
I see it all the time, especially among moms and solopreneurs. When asked how they manage it all, the answer is always “I don’t sleep.” Don’t do this, guys. Just…don’t.
Getting adequate rest is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It’s up there with eating well, taking vitamins, and drinking enough water (also all part of adulting). Working through the night and not taking care of yourself are not things to be proud of. Make your health a priority and everything else will fall into place.
7. Learn to say “no.”
How do you find more time to focus on the important things in life? By learning to say “no.” Prioritize your goals, and turn down opportunities that aren’t going to help you reach those. We have a lot of obligations pulling us in every direction, but we don’t have to accept them all. Sometimes, you even have to say “no” to yourself, and that’s okay, too! There are a lot of things in my life that are important to me. So many, that I wasn’t giving any of them adequate time. I had to learn to step back and prioritize my life in a way that allowed me to dedicate time to the things most important. You know what? My world didn’t collapse, either! Saying “no” to things that weren’t as important has freed me up extra time to spend with my kids, and work on my business. It has allowed me to have down time and actually enjoy life again!
Do you have a hard time saying no? I can tell you the book Time Management Mama was a life-changer for me. You can grab a copy for yourself on Amazon, or use this link! You won’t regret it!
8. Register to vote (and actually go vote).
Yes. This is a huge part of adulting, and it’s so important! Not just for the big elections, either. Get involved on a local level and really start making a change. Policy starts at a local level, and for someone brand new to politics, it’s much easier to understand at that level, too. You’ll be able to actually see how your vote can affect your day-to-day life as well. (Hello tax dollars for road work).
9. Learn to cook healthy meals.
When I first met my husband, I was broke and in college. I lived on Ramen noodles, espresso, and tequila (seriously), and couldn’t even make spaghetti without burning the water. I was probably the worst cook you’ll ever know. For the first year of our marriage, he did all of the grocery shopping and cooking. His schedule had him home from work earlier than me, so by the time I came home, dinner was almost done. Plus, neither of us wanted me to burn down the apartment, so it was a mutual agreement that he should be the cook.
When I got pregnant with our first baby, we decided that I would stay home from work. I didn’t even work through half of my pregnancy, so I found myself sitting around the house while he worked. After about a week, I realized how unfair it was of me to sit around all day and wait for him to come home and cook, so I started trying to learn.
Now, I am the primary cook in our house, and have been for years. I cook meals from scratch and don’t buy anything processed. If you would have told me 8 years ago that this is what my life would look like, I would have laughed at you and handed you some Ramen noodles for dinner. No joke. Start small, with some simple recipes and work your way up. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn!
Want some recipes? I pin a ton of them on Pinterest!
10. Clean your house.
Nobody expects perfection. Seriously. Pinterest-worthy homes just don’t look real to me. But, part of adulting means that you actually keep your house respectable. This will mean different things to everyone, and I’m not here to judge. The point is, find a level of clean that you can keep your home every day and strive to maintain it.
A few simple ways that you can make this task easier are:
- Figure out a system for organizing your house.
- Purge unnecessary clutter.
- Develop a cleaning schedule.
- Schedule time each day that is only for cleaning and picking up.
Our generation struggles so much with adulting.
It’s no wonder, either. Most of us were never really forced to grow up until much later in life. I use the terms “us” and “we” in a general context here, because really, they don’t apply to me. I moved out at 17, paid my own bills, held down a job, and lived without insurance or (gasp!) cable for a long time. In college, I held down a full-time job on top of my 18 hour courseload just to pay my rent.
But, I know most millenials didn’t actually have to worry about those sorts of things for a long time. They had the blessing of mom and dad helping them out through college and the early years of their career. Many of them didn’t even worry about grocery shopping, because they could just raid mom and dad’s pantry whenever they needed to. (True story. I had a roommate that did this and it blew my mind).
This is a good thing. Our generation has been allowed the freedom to pursue their dreams in a way that many weren’t before us. It makes sense that we might need some help learning how to be a real grown up now that we’re in our thirties.
If you know a friend that could use some help adulting, share this with them so they can learn from these tips!