May 7, 2012

The Dos And Don’ts Of Becoming A Grown-Up

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Being a grown-up is hard, hard work, but there are always a few obvious things to avoid, as well as a few things to embrace, when you’re on the path to adulthood. Here, a few of the more essential dos and don’ts.

DO cut down on the amount of furniture you have that turns into other furniture. If your couch serves as a bed, your desk serves as a cutting board, and your chair serves as a storage unit, you should probably consider investing in a trip to IKEA.

DON’T rely entirely on IKEA to furnish your house. While having various products hilariously named Grundel and all manner of particle board filling your house is awesome and cost effective, you will come to a point where you realize that you have the same apartment as literally every other twenty-something in the tri-state area. That little cube desk thing? We all have it. That round lamp with the cool switch? We all have it. That headboard made out of packing peanuts and a little black paint? Yep, we all have it. Try as much as possible to mix things up with a few items that only 79 percent of your peers have, at most.

DO maintain friendships with the people that matter. Spending some time semi-frequently to stay in touch with the people who care about you and will, should the occasion arise, help you move with minimal complaint is of the utmost importance. As we get older, our lives are filled with tedious acquaintances who sap our will to live by bombarding us with small talk over watered-down drinks at happy hour. Counteract this by keeping close with the people who love you for who you are, and letting them know they matter to you.

DON’T keep treating your body like it has the resilience of a sixteen-year-old wood nymph. No one hates exercising more than I do, and eating copious amounts of things like quinoa and tofu makes me question the reason we were put on this Earth if only to suffer, but even I know it is true. The older we get, the more we need to sprinkle some vitamins amongst our diet and move around when the occasion calls for it. I know it sucks, but it’s necessary.

DO learn how to do money stuff, no matter how scary looking it is. Things like savings, budgets, and “making your money work for you” — the mantra of crusty old white men everywhere — are actually somewhat useful and important in the long-term, I’m finding. The more control we have over the money we have and how we use it, the more comfortable and secure we’ll be in life. Nothing is worse than constantly having to decide between eating and rent, but it’s a situation anyone can find him or herself in without proper planning.

DON’T save all of your pertinent conversations for when you are wobbly drunk. Your ex, your boss, your friend with whom you are engaged in some kind of dispute, your parents, and your irritating neighbor can all wait to hear your pearls of wisdom until you’ve sobered up and had some breakfast. Avoiding the urge to send a bitter or desperate text message when you’re mid-screaming about the issue at the bar with your friends may be the most tangible sign of entering adulthood. When you have the good sense to re-think your message in the light of day, you’ll know you’ve made it.

DO make good use of your time outside of endlessly scrolling through the internet, actually using your youth to contribute to society and make the future brighter for yourself and humanity at large. As soon as this is achieved by a confirmed human, science will let us know.

DON’T be consumed by jealousy. Even though modern technology has basically served to bombard us with endless photographic and text-based proof that our peers are more successful, more beautiful, and more well-adjusted than us, we have to let it go to some degree. If we spend our time immersed in social media, over-analyzing every new detail about how much more fruitful the life of that dude from high school is than ours, we will literally go insane by the age of 25. We can’t let this happen.

DO start dating people who are right for you. Whatever your definition of a good time is with a romantic partner, you figure that out and you start dating accordingly. There is no point in wasting your time with someone who is not interested in the same future, who doesn’t define a relationship in the same way, and who is only minimally interested in making you happy. Want just an awesome friend with benefits? Find someone who’s gonna hit it like it owes them money with no expectations of all that love bullsh-t. Want a future with monogrammed towels and a golden retriever in your family Christmas card? You find that WASP who’s gonna make all your Connecticut-based dreams come true. Want a person who is at least going to set up a toothbrush in their apartment to acknowledge your presence in their life? Stop dating the crunchy-vegan ass hat who doesn’t “believe” in “ownership” and thus bangs seven other people at the same time, much to your dismay.

DON’T continue to spurn your parents with the unforgiving heel of adolescence. Now is the time to embrace them, apologize profusely to them, and reaffirm that they are a) people and b) actually kind of cool, when you think about it. This is the opportunity for a beautiful new “adult friends” stage in your relationship, one in which you can get drunk with them and hear humiliating stories about their/your past. Embrace it.

DO develop some hobbies outside of drinking, recovering from drinking, and reminiscing about drinking. The world is full of awesome, strange, exciting, cool things to do — why limit yourself to seeing how much abuse your liver can take before it commits seppuku? Learn a dance, join a club, pick up a language, or even just get really into writing terrible fan fiction — whatever tickles your fancy. The point is to expand your horizons and meet new people, as adulthood unfortunately means the only opportunity for forced socialization is at work, and it has been proven in a recent study that 87 percent of coworkers are enormous tools that you want nothing to do with. A hobby is a perfect way to supplement the “bearable people you see on a regular basis” count in your life.

DON’T start taking pictures of every edible thing put in front of you from here on out. Just because you are an adult, and have learned how to use a stove with some degree of competency, does not mean that everyone you’ve ever come in social media contact with needs to see a picture of the eggs you just made. It’s the adult equivalent of proudly showing your kindergarten artwork to your parents and expecting to be received like Van Gogh. You don’t need the internet’s approval, we get it, you can put a decent-looking ham sandwich together.

DO learn to love yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, and as trite as the sentiment has become, there is an enormous amount of truth to the idea that loving yourself, and being proud and comfortable with who you are, is the gateway to all the myriad kinds of happiness we can experience as we grow. How can we ever expect to be happy for others, to truly love our friends, to care for a partner, or even maintain a fulfilling career, if we’re crippled by self-hate and insecurity? Of course we shouldn’t become that guy who walks into the office carrying his bike over his head in his ridiculous lycra outfit, telling you about the awesome breakfast he had and the charity marathon he’s running this weekend — that guy loves himself way too much. But a quiet appreciation of all that is wonderful and unique about yourself, as well as all the good you can put into this world if you try, is something we could all do with a little bit more of. TC mark

All information provided in this article is for reference purposes only.

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