Let’s face it, growing up is not easy. As a kid, you probably said something to yourself like, “I can’t wait to be an adult so I can do whatever I want” or “when I grow up, I’m going to see the world,” but as time passed by you may have realized that these aren’t as easy as they sound. For me, this realization (or the big realization, at least) came to me at the beginning of my roaring 20s right after I finished college. There’s just so much that I didn’t know and so much that I had to learn while figuring out what I was going to do next. I never felt so lost and I wished that life came with an instruction manual or something.
While I still haven’t completely figured everything out, I realized that life is not a race and there are little things you could do to make life a tad bit easier. Here are a few things I wish I knew before I became an adult.
Even if you don’t have to, save money
It’s very tempting to spend for whatever the heck you want once you start earning your own money. Now that we spend most of our days at home, online shopping can be hard to resist with all the monthly sales and promo codes (let’s be real—you end up spending more in the end). However, you must listen to your gut and save money.
Nobody knew that the pandemic would hit this hard and, honestly, I wished I was more strategic to budget my expenses so I would’ve been more prepared. Even if you think you have a stable source of income, it’s important to set aside a part of your salary or allowance as emergency savings. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.
There’s more to living alone than doing chores yourself
Nothing says “strong independent woman” like making the big move away from your parents’ house. Although living alone sounds like the most liberating thing to a young adult fresh out of college, it’s a whole new package of responsibilities. You now have to worry about more household chores like laundry, plumbing, association dues and—I hate to say it—rent. Speaking of rent, you also have to worry about finding roommates you can vibe with if you want to split the costs. Bunking with your best friends sounds great and all but it still depends on how compatible your lifestyles are. Not only this, you also have your landlord to worry about.
Before you settle on a place, you need to fully understand your landlord’s terms before you sign your contract (trust me, I learned this the hard way). Make sure to review local laws and document what your place looks like so you’re backed with proof for any form of disagreement between you and your landlord when it comes to maintenance issues. There are a lot of stingy landlords out there who could charge you for a really old faucet breaking on you or leave you with a broken toilet for weeks before actually changing it like they said they would.
Learn how to take a break and rest
By rest, I don’t just mean sleep (however, making sure to get enough sleep is important too). All my life I was caught up with reaching my goals whether it was getting the highest grades or landing a stable job. All that pressure led me to think that I constantly needed to be productive which can be really tiring. Now that our boundaries between work and play are almost nonexistent here at home, we’re bound to end the day with our minds still preoccupied with work. Whether it’s catching up with deadlines or thinking of other responsibilities, these could take a toll on our mental health if it’s not regulated.
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I learned to practice self-care at the end of every day so I could properly rest and recharge for the next day. If you still haven’t found a self-care regimen, don’t feel pressured to follow what everybody on your social media feed is doing. Find one that helps you keep your mind away from your work and other responsibilities. These could simply be reading a book unrelated to your field of work or doing a round of yoga and meditation before you go to bed.
Invest in a hobby
Following my recent goal of breaking out of the toxic positivity mindset, one tip I learned from my friends and other working adults is to have a hobby that keeps your mind active and boosts your mood. This shouldn’t be a hobby that you stress over and, if you’re already living comfortably and don’t need to start one, don’t confuse this with starting a side hustle. Monetizing your hobby might just defeat its purpose.
We may not be lucky enough to land our dream jobs early into our careers and the saying “do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
Having a hobby that you’re passionate about not only gives you something to do aside from work but it also gives you added knowledge. Whether it’s learning the basics of science from gardening or nutritional values from experimenting with cooking recipes, learning something new from things you’re passionate about is satisfying. Not only this, having a hobby gives you something to talk about when you’re meeting new people. Personally, nothing sounds more interesting than hearing someone talk about something they’re passionate about.
Art by Dana Calvo
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