By Samantha McKenzie
Adulting is the new word millennials are using to describe anything that they do that makes them feel like a grown up. For right now, it’s only found in the Urban Dictionary and all over social media. It means taking care of responsibilities like holding down a full-time job, paying rent or making a car payment, or even cooking a dinner (that didn’t come out of a package).
Our young people are completely in shock. They’re feeling the pangs of responsibility and they’re not liking it. Seems as though the “I’m grown” comments we’ve all heard them spew was all talk. Today’s young adults are in dire need of our help. It’s time they grew up, the right way.
Follow the adulting hashtags and you’ll see them celebrate their daily achievements, like making their own doctors appointment.
“I just went to my 9-5. Ugh!” #adulting
“Sometimes you have to make the decision to stay home and not party every weekend so you have money to pay your bills #adulting
“When all your bills are due on the same date!” #adulting
Welcome to the real world.
I remember when I got my first job at 16. My mother made me contribute $50 of my pay check to the household. She also made me open up a savings account. When I went away to college, I called home to thank my mom for teaching me how to wash my clothes and take out the trash. I appreciated learning all of those household chores after living with dorm mates who didn’t get the same lessons.
When I graduated from college, I moved back home and got a full-time job as a copy editor for a financial company. My mom made me take over all of the utility bills. All of them. I learned how to pay bills on time and when I didn’t, I taught myself how to negotiate with the bill collectors on late payments.
I learned to turn down invitations to events I just couldn’t afford to attend. I learned to walk away from enticing sales at the department stores for clothes I thought I couldn’t live without. We looked forward to the responsibilities back then because we knew it was tied to our independence. In those days, growing up meant not having to listen to your parents anymore. And that luxury came with a price tag: It included living on your own, paying your own bills and taking care of your needs. Back then parents cared more about your needs, and less about satisfying your wants.
Now it’s our turn. It’s time we ditch the helicopter gig (smirk!) and train our children how to “adult” on their own.
Start with the list that your parents created for you then add things that you wished someone would have told you sooner. Here’s my list that I share with my children and the young adults that I come in contact with:
- Pay your bills first. Learn to stagger the payment dates so they aren’t all due on the first of the month.
- Save money and learn how to invest, early on. Save money and invest early on. (Just thought I should emphasize this one.)
- Learn about life insurance and then get your own. Matter of fact, get your own car, health, homeowners, renters and pet insurance while you’re at it.
- Be spontaneous about low-cost items. That means make sure your young, vibrant, spontaneous personality matches up with your paycheck. Sign up for the things you can afford.
- Plan ahead for more costly adventures. Yes you can travel the world. Just plan ahead and set up a travel account, look for deals, and when you’re just starting out, skip the five-star hotels.
- Eat well. Learn that all foods that are good for you, won’t taste amazing. Eat brussel spouts and learn to like it. Yeh, and eat a variety of other fresh herbs and vegetables. You’ll live longer.
- Say no. To yourself, that is. You don’t have to shop at every sale. You don’t have to accept every invitation. You don’t need 100 pair of shoes. You just don’t.
- Be on time. To work especially, but to anywhere that you make a commitment. It’s very adult of you to show up at the time that you were supposed to.
- Leave work on time. You can get ahead in the company without working 80 hours a week. Work smarter and then go home and enjoy your life.
- Keep your house clean. This happens by creating daily habits. Hang your clothes up. Wash the dishes every night. Leave the bathroom tidy. It will help you spend more time at home. You don’t have to wait until the weekend to clean anymore.
- Take care of yourself, but think of others. Find ways to care for yourself (massages, walks in the park, exercise). It will keep you happy. Then learn to care for someone else. If it’s not a family member, adopt a grandparent, volunteer at the local recreation center or become a big sister. Learn to take care of someone besides yourself.
Let’s encourage our next generation to be their very best. Let’s support our future.