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How to be a Grown-Up
Things to do and ways to be
I’m in a strange phase of life right now.
Technically, I am an adult.
I mean, my friend Trish is saving a three and a zero candle for my thirtieth birthday next year. (Thanks, Trish!)
Definitely an adult.
Since finishing school, I have a lot of freedom with my time and I don’t always feel like I’m living a very grown-up life. To help myself think through whether or not I’m handling life maturely, I composed a list of grown-up things that I would like to be doing and grow-up ways that I would like to be being.
How to be a Grown-Up (Things to Do and Ways to be)
Things To Do
Build the ability to stay calm and problem-solve.
Things are going to go wrong. Things will get broken and lost. Plans will fall through. Mistakes will be made. It will be frustrating and maybe even frightening sometimes. But as an adult, I need to learn to handle it. Handling it can mean so many different things. It can mean trying again, doing some research, learning to take a deep breath, or asking for help.
Pay attention to what is going on in the world.
When paying attention to current events, finding the balance between being reasonably informed and completely overwhelmed is not easy. I believe that as an adult, I have the responsibility to at least have an awareness of what is going on globally and in my own country and region. I’m still figuring out the best ways for me to do this. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me. I’m particularly interested if you know of the Canadian equivalent of someone like Sharon McMahon who addresses current events with an educational twist.
Remain somewhat up to date with changing tech and online world.
I suppose that this one this one could be up for debate. I don’t know that this needs to be a priority, when compared to some other adult responsibilities. And perhaps for a lot of adults (particularly young adults) this comes naturally. For me, it does not. I don’t think I will advance beyond Instagram in the social media world (although the new space called Threads is a little intriguing to me). I am helpless in computer or video games and have no desire to be any other way. Despite all the resistance I feel towards some of our modern ways, I do feel that I have a responsibility to engage with the online world and new technologies. In future years, I don’t want to find that I have become incompetent or paranoid when it comes to using technology. I want to have explored it and practiced using it with intention, so that I can bring experience, positivity, and energy to my interactions on this topic. Practically, for myself right now, this means taking small intentional actions- like practicing making reels on Instagram (remember how it used to just be pictures and captions? And you couldn’t even zoom in?) and practicing using a program called Notion in preparation to switch to a digital planning system (instead of my paper planners).
Keep up with “personal administrative duties.”
As an adult, there many small tasks that need to be done. Things that need to be filled out, picked up, or returned. Appointments to be made. Gifts to be bought. Recurring errands that need to be done. To me, these small tasks can begin to feel a little overwhelming when thrown into the mix of everything else that happens in a day. In the past couple years, I have found it helpful to either “batch” tasks or “OHIO” them. Batching means keeping a list of tasks that are not time-sensitive but will take a little bit of time to complete and then setting aside time to tackle them all in one shot. The acronym OHIO means Only Handle It Once and has been a useful reminder for me to not put off tasks that I actually have time to complete in the moment when they arise.
Build the ability to express myself honestly and confidently.
Sometimes it’s surprisingly hard to be honest about what I think, want, or need. Sometimes it’s surprisingly hard to even know what I think, want, or need, much less express it. Recently, it has been dawning on me that a significant part of adult-ing is accepting the responsibility of figuring out what is important to you and what hurts you and then being able to express that when you need to. Ugh.
Know how to use my down-time in life-giving ways.
I think that as a child, I was better at using my free time to do the things that I loved. Most of those things required some kind of action from me- climbing, colouring, writing, playing. Now, it’s far too easy for me to turn to scrolling on my phone or watching YouTube videos when I want to rest. I think that these things are legitimate ways of relaxing, but often, I sacrifice things that really are more important to me on the altar of scrolling. As an adult, I need to be able to control how I spend my free time. I have the responsibility to make sure that I do the things that I want to do. I often feel a little overwhelmed by that. I tend to think of that responsibility as a battle against “lazy Jasmine,” but in reality, what a joy and privilege it is to be able to choose and pursue the things that delight and energize me!
Have some helpful routines for health/home maintenance.
Doing a complete cleaning of my kitchen cupboards doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming if I just know that I will do it every January and every July. Just like vacuuming each week or unloading the dishwasher each morning doesn’t feel so overwhelming when I put Ricky in charge of doing it. Hehe. Washing my hair doesn’t feel like a burden if I know when I am going to do it and then plan a little extra time for that process. Routines are helpful to me, and I want to get better at sticking to them.
Learn how to be on time.
Ahem. Although I have gotten better at this, I still have some improving to do. I can get myself to things like appointments and work on time with no issues. I still sometimes have trouble with the more informal occasions in life, like going over to family’s just to hang out. It’s easy for me to arrive five minutes or so after the appointed time. So close to being on time, and yet… LATE. I don’t enjoy taunting myself with “almost success,” but I seem to do it in multiple areas of life. Another aspect of this is learning to be realistic about how long tasks/commutes will take when making plans. Often it’s a little longer than I expect. I do not like the feeling of rushing, especially when I know that I am holding someone else up, and it feels very worth it to me to continue working on being on time and being realistic about how many tasks/events I can actually fit into my day.
Ways To Be
Be a kind and safe place for myself.
*Insert nervous laughter here* This takes work and intention. For me, the difference between making excuses for myself and offering myself grace is difficult to discern. It might be a life-long learning process, but I hope that I’m making some progress. I recently had the realization that I wouldn’t choose to be someone else. I just want to be me. It felt like progress to realize that even though I make mistakes, I generally do like who I am. That feels like a significant foundation for being kind to myself when the hard feelings come.
Another responsibility that comes with being an adult is building an awareness of your resources and finding ways to share them with others. To be honest, I’m still very much figuring out what this looks like for me. I even feel a little bit antsy just trying to write about it. Okay byyyyyeee!
Be aware of what my priorities and goals for my life are.
Knowing what matters to me brings such a sense of peace and clarity to my life, whether I’m in the middle of a big decision or just doing daily life.
Be able to keep my word to myself.
I struggle with this one so much that I almost feel hypocritical mentioning it, but I think it might be a really important aspect of being an adult. If I have dreams and goals and am able to lay out the practical steps that it would set me on the path to attempting to accomplish them, but can’t bring myself to actually take action and do those things? Well, that’s a recipe for never achieving something that I said was important to me. It might sound dramatic, but I would call that a tragedy. Whether or not I can keep the commitments that I make to myself will have a direct impact on my physical, mental, and spiritual health.
There you have it, folks. A few of the things that I want to do and be as I move through my adult years. Although I do want to be a mature adult, I plan to always love sitting/lying on the ground. I will always love picture books. I will always love to eat hot dogs. I will never stop finding that chicken from the movie Moana absolutely hilarious. Let’s not lose sight of the delightful things in life, you know?
I know that this list is not comprehensive at all. I’m curious about your thoughts. Was there a specific age or stage when you felt like you had reached adulthood? What are the habits and qualities that a mature adult should have?