I spend a lot… like a lot of time declaring myself to be a functional adult. (Usually while doing something I am trying to convince myself that I am qualified to do, like feed myself healthy meals or look after a baby.) However, now that I am solidly into my 30s… I think the time has come to not just accept that I’m a lot but to start to share the wisdom I’ve collected while making these sweeping declarations. So, without further ado, please enjoy a both serious and unserious list of the 10 things I’ve learned as an adult.
1) It is always faster to just throw together something for breakfast at home.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it’s not nice to pick up breakfast sometimes. An Egg McMuffin on a road trip? Absolutely!
But it’s not actually faster. When you are pressed for time in the morning, you can always grab a piece of fruit or granola bar, eat something that isn’t normally breakfast food, throw some couscous and hot water into a tupperware and have a sad but filling meal ready in seconds. I fully support getting a Starbucks or Tim Hortons bagel when I want one, but I can no longer fool myself that I am saving time by doing that.
2) Making your bed will always make your bedroom look one million times better.
Several years ago, I wanted to prove to myself that I could build a positive habit and I decided to start with something simple – making my bed, throw pillows and all, every single day for a month, then a year and so on. (I think my impetus was the idea that if something takes less than 5 minutes to do, you should do it right away?)
Anyway – literally an immediate face lift to my room that takes less than 5 minutes.
3) Good quality chocolate actually does taste better than the cheap stuff.
I know, I hate that I’m this person now too.
But it’s true.
4) It literally costs you nothing to be kind.
Another version of this is “don’t yuck someone else’s yum”. If someone tells you that they like something you don’t?There’s no need to be cruel, tease them, tell them all the things that are wrong with that thing. In fact, you could actually even listen to them talk about this thing for a bit because it will probably make them feel good. It costs you nothing.
(There are other variations to this lesson like “asking about people’s day” and “holding the door for other people”, but for me learning how to engage with other people’s interests that I do not share has been such a game changer.)
5) Sometimes a backpack or a fanny pack is 100% better than a purse.
I mean, it helps that they are trendy now too but… seriously. Don’t hurt your back/shoulders for fashion.
This lesson was learned on the first day of my Masters degree when I walked from the hospital campus I work at to the main campus that my summer intensive was taking place on. 20 minute walk, no big deal, right?
Very big deal when you are carrying a laptop in a shoulder tote. I literally bought a backpack that night and I have never regretted it.
6) More people remember and recognize you than you expect.
We all have a bit of social awkwardness in us and, for me, it took the form of always assuming that people wouldn’t remember me when I ran into them on the street/at a play/across a crowded room, etc. More times than you would expect, I was wrong… and then these people who totally did remember me assumed that I was a snob who didn’t want to engage with them. Not great.
Now, to be fair… sometimes people don’t remember me. I changed my hair colour quite dramatically after university and I find that the blonde sometimes still takes people by surprise. But that’s okay, I now smile and wave (or in this age of mask-wearing “crinkle up my eyes and wave”) anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t remember me and either they think I’m super friendly or they figure out who I am and we have a moment.
7) Sleep masks are a gift from *insert gift-giving reference of choice here*
It’s absolutely okay to be a bit of a delicate flower and want to create an ideal sleeping situation. For a lot of us, utter darkness is part of that and I have become a huge fan of sleep masks to create that darkness. My favourite sleep masks are these because they don’t press or pull on the eyes, and you can often find them at Winners!
8) Three friends is a totally valid number of friends.
This is a bit of an oversimplification and also a reference to a certain time in 2016 when I took on a mantra of “I just need three more friends”. What I’m really saying is that you don’t need a zillion people that you regularly text, a massive group chat to keep track of or go on trips with 12 other people if that’s not what you want.
Fill your life with friendships that fit the size of friendship cup you have. Look for quality – people you can regularly turn to, who still want to hang out with you when you are in the less “fun” stages of your life, and who you can fall into a conversation with like no time has ever passed. It’s okay if that number is different for you than for other people!
9) Backup shoes are a “need to have”, not a “nice to have”.
Seriously. If you don’t bring back up shoes, you’re just going to end up wandering the streets or dancing in bare feet. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are in heels.
10) It’s okay to be a solid mixture of selfish and selfless.
To use another cup analogy – sometimes you have to fill your own cup first to make sure you even have anything left to share. And sometimes your cup is still full of water from the day before, so you can afford to share all your water with someone else.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s okay to put your own wants and needs first sometimes but not other times. It takes a lot of reflection and self-understanding really know which times are which, but you can put the time in and do it, babe!
So there you have it! 10 things I’ve learned as an adult… actually, I just learned something new this week.
Sometimes a cake is an obligation/task, not a gift.
So… there’s 10 things I’ve learned as an adult, plus one secret humblebrag!