The Adult Starter Pack (That No One Tells You About)

Adulthood is a scam, but it’s an inevitable scam. It’s kind of like walking into Times Square while there is a flash mob going on: In theory, it seems pretty cool! All of the people, shops, and lights all around you–it’s almost like the movies!

…But then you realize everyone else knows what to do, you’re surrounded by a lot of people and advertisements telling you to buy things that you can’t afford, and it’s just generally overstimulating.

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It’s not all bad though! I just had a cookie and cereal for dinner, so my 10-year-old-self is proud of me. There are just a lot of things I feel like could have been emphasized to me as I was growing up.

How To Cook

For some, cooking is a hobby. For others, cooking is a necessary evil in order to survive. Meal kits sound great, but what you gain in convenience, you lose in money. Not to mention if you live in a place where packages get stolen off your front porch (shout out to Baltimore).

If you’re a fellow semi-adult who is trying to save money, I recommend the ‘ole trick of making big dinners and saving the leftovers for lunches. If you “don’t like leftovers” you are too rich to be reading this blog, my friend.

My problem with cooking: Prep time of 10 minutes? FALSE. I’m going to need recipe writers to consider the fact that I need to watch about four YouTube videos that show me the difference between “cubing” and “dicing”. We can also add a cumulative 5 minutes dedicated to concentrating on not cutting my fingers off with my questionable Goodwill knife set.

How To Sew

True story: I stapled a sweater together that had a rip in it. Was I slightly ashamed? Yes. Was I chilly? Nope.

Even so, I really wish I was forced to take a sewing class instead of learning how to play the violin (although I did play a mean “Ode to Joy” back in the day). The older generations might not be able to convert a word document to a pdf, but at least they don’t have to staple their sweaters together.

How To Manage Finances

I often find myself dreaming about that $30 that I spent on a dumb graphic t-shirt at Delia*s when I was 13 with a picture of peanut butter and jelly that said “Meant to Be”.

Would I have spent that $30 in a less dumb way now? Probably not, but I like to pretend.

Managing money looks different for everyone, so it’s hard to give “general” tips. Okay, let me rephrase that: it’s hard for me to give out advice knowing full well that I passed my finance classes by the grace of God.

One podcast that has successfully kept me above the poverty line is Listen Money Matters. It covers a wide range of topics that I find fairly easy to understand. I have also heard great things about the Dave Ramsey podcast, but have yet to try that one out myself.

How To Manage Car Maintenance

Who knew that getting from point A to point B could be so expensive? I just think it’s a little rude that emission tests, oil changes, and getting new tires have to be a thing. Thanking my lucky stars for the internet and a very patient father when it comes to any and all things vehicle related.

It also helps that I have zero interest in investing any more than the absolute bare minimum into what I drive. Sure you might look cool rolling up in your fancy-shmancy car that can parallel park while giving you a haircut and a back rub, but my 2006 Camry with a mismatched side view mirror and a broken headlight got me here using the same roads (and with more money in my pocket to spend on Delia*s graphic t-shirts.)

How To Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Adulthood is a “stage” in life, not necessarily an “age” in life, so don’t put yourself up to this made-up timeline for when you should know how to do everything. I will openly admit that I do not have it all figured out, and I probably never will.

The truth is: none of us know what we are doing, and that’s okay. No need to fret. This is honestly probably just one big episode of Black Mirror anyways so when in doubt follow these simple rules to be a successful semi-adult:

  1. Don’t judge. We’re all trying our best (or at least trying to try our best)
  2. Be kind. Worst case scenario: it will make someone’s day. Best case scenario: you could make it on Ellen.
  3. Cut yourself some slack. Imagine how boring life would be if you did everything right the first time? Mistakes and mismatched side-view mirrors add character-you’ll be fine.

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