I know. What the hell is a real adult?
To be real with you, this title is a bit clickbait. Because the concept of a “real adult” is a bit bullshit.
If you’re an adult, you’re an adult.
I guess what I want you to get out of this post is how to get your life together and be responsible, and what you need to do to make that happen.
Because I want the best for you.
But the fact of the matter is that school doesn’t prepare you for real adult life. And in the case of most of us, our parents don’t either.
Look. As a kid, my parents and home life didn’t set me up for success. I wasn’t given the tools or knowledge or even the examples to have success in my adulthood.
That being said, at 25-years-old, I’ve got my shit (mostly) together. I had to figure that stuff out by myself and in some situations, I had to learn the hard way.
Which is what I want to help you avoid.
Because going into credit card debt? Having a shitty credit score? Not having any savings at all? Not knowing what to look for in a home?
^ That shit will ruin your life. In full.
And we don’t want that, now do we?
Nah. Not at all.
So, I’m here to help you know what stuff you should have in order as an adult in order to set yourself up for success in your adult life.
1. Get a blood work panel
Lol I know this is a very weird first step for “getting your shit together” to be an adult but honestly, it’s important.
You need to have a reference point of young, healthy (hopefully, at least) you in order to know when shit goes south with your health when you’re older.
And if you don’t get this, because it’s not really something they just do at the doctor’s, you won’t really know what’s off in your bloodwork.
Obviously there’s a “base” they can compare your results to, but even that isn’t completely accurate because people have varying levels of what’s healthy for them.
My blood pressure, for example, is naturally very low. It’s about 95/60 on average.
To some, that would be alarming. But to me, if I go in with a blood pressure of 120/80, which is the standard “average” for healthy, it’s actually high blood pressure for me.
See what I mean? You need a baseline and that should be done sooner rather than later.
Medical talk is super boring, but it’s also one of the most neglected areas of our lives when we’re young and that makes our health even more of an issue when we get older.
Do yourself a favor and get ahead of this curve.
2. Start saving
I know, I know! You’ve probably heard this too many times to count but the fact that you’re here, clearly still trying to get your life together, means you likely didn’t listen to this advice the first time around.
Savings makes a difference. Even just the emotional security, knowing that you’ll be aight if something goes sideways, is worth it.
And it’s easier to start than you think.
I honestly just have the Mint app withdraw a monthly sum. Set it and forget it.
That way I don’t even have to think about it, but I’m saving regularly. Most banks have apps that you can do the same thing (I use Mint for other things as well).
But, you know, just do it, as Nike would say. Do it. You’ll feel better. You’ll have more to fall back on, because unexpected shit happens all the time.
3. Exercise and find a form you actually like
Human bodies are meant to move and work. I’m not telling you to work out to get buff or trim or whatever.
I want you to exercise so when you’re 50, you’re not bitching about how bad your back hurts or how you can’t stand up to watch your child/sibling/cousin do that really impressive thing they’re super proud of.
Plus, exercise is linked to all sorts of good things like better sex (heyoooo), a more elevated mood, regulated hormones, reduced stress, and a bang-worthy body.
Who wouldn’t want all of that?
But for real, your body doesn’t just stay how it is forever. You need to work it and strengthen your heart and muscles so you can enjoy a better quality of life when you’re old.
Yeah, shit will get rough when you’re like 70+ anyways, but 40, 50, 60? You can enjoy those years in full if you get into a habit of working out now.
But it’s also important to find a form of exercise you enjoy.
If you hate it, you won’t do it. It’s really that simple but since your health relies on it, and not hating yourself when you’re old also relies on it, finding a form you like matters.
And there’s more to working out than just lifting weights or running.
Here are some alternatives to the common forms of exercising:
- Spin classes
- Pole dancing classes (will get you RIPPED)
- Yoga (though you should also do a form of more intense cardio)
- Hip hop dancing (can be in your living room with a Youtube video!)
- Rock climbing
- Sex (heyoooo)
- Tennis / other court sports
4. Learn to stop giving a shit
About what other people think, that is. Because ultimately, you should care even more about what’s important.
So this section should be called, “Learn when to care.”
It does matter. Think about the times you’ve seen an older person (often gray-and-wrinkly-aged) who was engaging in behavior that made you laugh because you couldn’t stop thinking about what other people must be thinking about them.
Because that’s what you were thinking.
But the thing is…those people have gone through life to learn a very important lesson:
Giving a shit about what people think is nearly pointless.
Specifically when it’s people you don’t know or who don’t have much to do with you and your life.
So learning to not care can help you live a much happier life while doing things you fully enjoy.
And on the flip side, you should focus on caring more about what you say you care about. Family? Friends? Your health?
Saying you care and actually caring is the difference between being a child and a real adult. If you say you care about your family, then make sure you do and are prioritizing them in your life.
Lean into your values more, which becomes so much easier when you stop giving a shit about what random people think.
5. Water your damn plants
And give to whatever else you need to.
This can be literal or metaphorical. Literal for me because I get lazy occasionally and let my very-easy-to-maintain house plants die :/
But it can also be metaphorical in the sense that you should feed and give to what needs it for you in order to keep you alive, vibrant, and happy.
And that’s not the same as just doing things you like because let’s be real: not many people like to get up at the asscrack of dawn and hit the gym, but your body needs movement as a human being and therefore, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
6. Do creative things
Adults who suck have no imagination or creativity. In essence, they’ve lost their childlike wonder and outlook.
Those are not “real” adults.
Those are vessels who have been filled with societal expectations and have been drained of what makes them joyful and really, happy.
No matter your personality type, humans need creativity in some form. Even if you’re the most logical person in the world, void of imagination or a creative bone in your body, you need some form of expression.
Because that’s what creativity is, after all. It’s expression.
In school, I loved science. I was fascinated by how it worked and learning about what make our body or the world tick. Which is great, and it meant I took a ton of science classes.
What I didn’t take, were art classes. Until my senior year, that is.
I only needed a few more credits to meet graduation requirements in order to graduate a semester early, and in true senioritis fashion, I took the easiest ones I could think of: art classes.
I wish I had taken more. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so miserable in high school if I had that form of expression, of an outlet.
My point in this is to maintain some sort of childish creativity in your life. It helps deal with all the “real adultness” of your life, making it a hell of a lot more fun.
7. Nurture your relationships
Look. I’m not saying you have to mend all bridges with people in your life but you do have to maintain bridges that are already in place if you don’t want them to fall apart too.
Here are some relationships to think about keeping in great shape:
- Your family relationships
- Your friends
- Your coworkers
- Relationships with people you see often (think doctor, etc.)
I’ll be honest here: I haven’t been the best person when it comes to maintaining relationships, but I’m learning.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t feel like I have to “keep up” with people daily in order to be close to them. However, other people aren’t like that.
And that’s something to think about.
In relationships, you have to think about the other person’s perception too.
Just because I feel fine with my friendships going weeks without checking in with them doesn’t mean they’re feeling good or okay. Plus, it’s important to just check in to make sure everything is okay with them.
So make an effort, make goals if you have to! I have a goal to check in with two of my sisters I’m not very close with at least once a week. At least.
Just to show them I care. Because I do, and you should think about how you can show others you care about that you do too.
8. Buy some vegetables
Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store.
I know you don’t want a lecture on eating better because you’ve probably been blasted with that message for…ever.
It’s important. And your future you will thank you for it, just like they will for exercising, no matter how much you hate it.
The truth is that we (especially Americans) have horrible diets filled with preservatives and junk. But if you stick with the produce section and just commit to going to the store once a week (or getting grocery delivery!), you’ll be better off.
Not only will you eat better overall, but opening your fridge to colorful, real food will even be motivating, not to mention the impact it’ll have on other people just visiting.
The more you buy real foods, the more of a real adult you’ll be…instead of a preserved adult.
These are by no means the only ways in which you can be a “real” adult. These are just what I’ve found as a 25-year-old that have led me to have a happier adult life.
What are some tips you have for people looking to be a “real” adult?
How to get your life together and be a real adult: the untold truth
Bella Rose Pope
Jan 17, 2021
The fact of the matter is that school doesn’t prepare you for real adult life. And in the case of most of us, our parents don’t either.