Alrighty, your 18th birthday has come and gone. You know what that means? Congrats! You’re an adult. But it’s not an easy over night process and it’s hard to know where to start. While some of these will seem like “duh”, some of these will feel like some tough love advice. So wether you’re 18 or 40, here is your how to list of how to be an adult. Buckle up.
1. Get a source of income
I don’t care if you’re flipping burgers, toting a briefcase, or mowing the neighbors yard, an income is an income. Life costs money and you shouldn’t expect others to pay for you. Mooching is what kids do, and it’s very unbecoming of anyone past middle school. I know the job market is hard, but there is always a way to find an income. Try job searching online or offering to help old people with chores. Even if its only a couple bucks a day, some money is better than no money.
2. Set goals
Now that you have a source of income, consider what you actually want to do with life. Do you want to be a famous writer? Start brainstorming writing ideas. Maybe save up for a computer or even just a flash drive you can take down to the library and use their computer. Maybe you want to work on cars? Ask around at garages. See if they’ll let you apprentice, help out, or even just shadow. Whatever your goal may be, start working towards it! I’ve talked to many people with goals they’ve had for decades, yet they still haven’t pursued them. Set a goal and work for it!
3. Get stable living
Either you get your own place, live with family, or crash with a friend. Having your own place requires the most money, but gives you the most freedom. If you don’t have your own place, make sure you are a pleasant guest (yes, even if they’re your parents). See more on this on my article here: How to Live on Someone Else’s Couch
4. Get transportation
If you live in the city, you have the option of public transport. If you don’t live in the city, get a bike or get a car. Don’t know how to ride a bike? Learn. Don’t know how to drive? Learn. You’re old enough to test for a driver’s license. You have no excuse not to get one. If you just started to think of excuses while reading that, buck up and problem solve. You’re an adult now. Don’t expect other people are going to deal with toting you around places forever.
5. Sort through your stuff
Go through all your crap. Noodle picture from 1st grade? Give it to your parents or toss it. You have no use of it now. If you’re having a hard time tossing stuff, take a picture first and put the pics into a book. Now you can look at that stuff without it taking up near as much space. (You are allowed to keep some stuff, but this should be a horribly small percentage) Also sort through your clothes. What fits? What doesn’t? What makes you look like a highschooler when you wear it? Do you have any professional clothes? Every adult should have at least one set of nice clothes they can wear to interviews, weddings, and funerals. (And news flash, you don’t have to spend tons of money. You can find this stuff at Goodwill)
6. Pay attention to your health and hygiene
I’m not saying to get all crazy conscious of if you’re “fat” or not. I’m saying you should keep your BMI under the morbidly obese level simply for health reasons. Being obese and/or sick all the time is expensive as well as emotionally draining. (click here for a BMI calculator to see where you’re at now) You don’t have to join a gym or stop eating, just make sure you’re drinking water, eating vegetables occasionally, and walking around from time to time. Also, pay attention to hygiene. That simply means: brush your teeth everyday, shower at least 4 times a week, and apply deodorant. Those are your bare minimums people. Anything less than that is gross. Deal with it.
7. Figure out your Money
First off, no credit card debt. That’s just asking for trouble. You’ll need to have a credit card to build up positive credit, but that only works if you are responsible with it. That means, don’t spend more than what you have, and pay it off monthly. A bad credit score can screw you over down the road. Sit down with your bank or at a computer and figure out how much money you owe and how much debt you have. (Either from college, credit cards, or other stuff) If you’re lucky, you have no debt and you should try to keep it that way. You should set yourself a budget though. Say you have 1,000 dollars debt and you mow yards for a living. You make about 500 a month. By budgeting and cutting back on little spending here and there, you can actually start throwing some money at that debt. Your goal as an adult is to not be in the negative. If you have debt, you’re negative. A great (free) tool I use for budgeting is mint.com
8. Be lawful
Never get yourself in trouble with the law. Its a huge headache and is going to stinkin follow you around FOREVER. You’re old enough to know how to follow basic rules. No illegal drugs, no drinking & driving, don’t steal peoples stuff, don’t get in fist fights.
9. Get away from drama queens
Drama is for high school. Keep it there. You don’t want to be around people who you’ve known to lie, gossip, and backstab. Even if they haven’t done it to you, they’ve shown they’re capable, which means you could be next. Drama only adds problems and stress in your life. And maybe you’re the drama queen! If so cut it out. (If you’re not sure, think about your conversations. Do you talk more about people or events/ideas. If your answer is people, stop that. There are better things to talk about than ‘she did this’ and ‘he said that’)
10. Establish your main friends
You want to figure this out. You want 1 to 5 friends who are around your age, like to have good clean fun, aren’t drama queens, and have your back in a crisis And these can be family members!. This may be tough, but it’s something to work towards. Good places to pick up these kind of people if you’re short: public community events, classes, church, even online at sites like meetup.com
11. Intimate Relations
You’re at the time in life where you have or want a significant other. First off, keep in mind that the whole point of dating is to find a potential spouse. If after the first date you can tell you wouldn’t marry them, don’t continue towards an intimate relationship. Also, don’t be having sex with someone unless you’re prepared for the possibility of a baby. Which means a lifelong relationship (whether it be spouse or child care) with that person. You may argue about safe sex, but babies still happen. All you have to do is watch one episode of “I didn’t know I was pregnant” to understand that any sex could lead to a surprise. Throwing sex around here and there is also going to lead to more drama. Remember what we said, no drama. Maybe try sitting down and listing the traits you want in a spouse. Not so much physical traits as much as hobbies, goals, and attitude. Physical sexiness (as nice as it is) fades with time anyway, its more important to have someone who can be your best friend. A wise person once said “Run towards your goals and passions and then look and see who’s also running towards the same goals. Marry that person so you can run together”