With in the last week, I have gotten over 3 sickness at once, had my credit card declined, been told I do not have the correct health insurance card, and been scared to death that I missed Jury duty and was going to be sent to jail. I might be making this sound a lot more dramatic than it actually was, but for someone who has little knowledge on what I am calling “Adult” things, I was pretty traumatized. Adult activities, or “Adulting,” can be defined as:
Adulting (verb): A-dult-ing : The activity of completing tasks that are most commonly associated with age and responsibility.
I’ve already paid the water bill and been to the doctor, I think I’ve had enough adulting for one day.
So let me start by telling you what I know about Adulting. I have wonderfully helpful parents who have supported me and helped me transition into my own self-functioning human. They have paced me through adulting in a very steady and manageable fashion. From my first bank account at age 14 to my first car payment, the lessons where well timed and suited for what I was about to embrace next in my life. And I know they will always be willing to help me hurdle the next road block I might face.
This is where it all goes down hill. I care nothing about knowing how to do my taxes, I have a physical hatred towards doctors’ waiting rooms and I do not thrive off of knowing when I have met my deductible. These are very minor parts of the whole adult sphere. I have no idea what I am going to do if I further this whole adult thing – house, wife, kids ect. Sure you can choose to ignore the obvious need for insurance, or never make a doctors appointment and just hope you never get ill; but I’d also like to live a full and healthy life and have some teeth long enough to enjoy mexican food ’til I die. So I am left to figure it out. Sometimes it takes one of those days as I have described above to make it apparent that you need to get your act together.
So to begin figuring out how to Adult, I must first understand why I am resistant to learning about adult-like things. We spend vast amounts of money pursuing our passions in the form of education and because I was passionate about my chosen profession I retained a lot of information on it. I can assure you that I paid way more attention in my Design Thinking class than I did in Finite math (If you don’t know what finite math is, it is literally adding and subtracting matrix’s in long complicated ways – the most useless math ever).
It became obvious to me that I was not learning how to do my taxes or study my auto insurance policy because I was simply not interested in it. Now you might think that we learn things every day that we are not interested in, sure, I took finite math. But outside of an institutional setting how am I supposed to spend my free time learning about stuff that makes me cringe. I do however realize that there are such things as finance/business majors who have a way better grasp on these things than I do because maybe some of their electives where more related to everyday concepts. If we could have all been required to take a class that was related to understanding our finances and how to manage our money, I would have at least paid attention because I knew I would use that information.
Solution #1 – There should have been a required business and finance class for every day life in school.
Solution #2- Utilize the technology on your phones to integrate Adult lessons into your daily life.
Here is where I nerd out. The way I best learn things in my daily life that I am not particularly interested in stem from the conversations I have with people, and the technology that I interact with daily. Since my friends and I don’t usually get together and discuss our FICO scores, I am left with the internet as my go to teaching tool.
Our devices, which we have in our pockets at all times provide us with endless resources that I often wish I didn’t know about. More specifically social media influences you consciously and unconsciously daily. Now I could write about this for days but how do we think about technology as a tool to help us learn about very mundane things?
I am not sure I even know the answer to this but here are some things I think could help.
Following the correct people on social media.
You check twitter, Instagram and Facebook at least once a day. Then why not fill those feeds with a bit of useful information, integrating some of this Adult like information into your daily routine. Here are a couple of accounts I have found useful. Kelly Williams runs the Adulting Blog and tweets everything from life hacks to how to navigate your health insurance. Luke Landes’s twitter offers personal finance tidbits and, following the New York Times on Facebook is just a responsible thing to do. Finally sign up for theSkimm, best decision I have ever made.
Downloading useful apps
There are a lot of online resources that make tracking your finances easy and interactive. Mint is one of my personal favorites and it covers all the basis of keeping up with your bills and creating budgets. The app is really intuitive and customizable so you can use it for as much or as little as you want. Wealthfront is for those who are ready to explore more of what they can do with their money. And everyone needs a solid todo list app, so I use Handle to keep track of reminding me to pay bills.
Handling your mistakes
There is a chance you will run into one of those freak out moments in which you very dramatically think you might be going to jail, like I did last week. During these times it is very important to take a step back, remember you have gotten this far and breath. I find it is best to try and tackle one thing at a time, make a list, and force yourself to do it before you continue on with your day. I have a really hard time focusing if I am stressed out, so completing my list is key. Just remember it is okay to make a mistake but when it comes to Adult-like things make sure you have resources you can call or lean on to point you in the right direction. And finally, you’re never too old to do the adult-like thing and call your mom.