Being an adult

welcome-to-reality

Hello Dear Reader,

I can distinctly remember my goal as a child. Mine was to  be an adult as quickly as possible! I wanted my own home, my own ‘stuff’, my own money and to make my own decisions. I remember my peers wanting to do the same. I knew what adults did. Adults had jobs, went to work early and worked late, paid for the ‘stuff’ made the decisions and did adult things.

There are whole chunks of being an adult now that many people struggle with. That, may I add, is no judgement but there are bits and pieces of life’s education that some folk have missed out on. Somehow, people have not learned to cook, have no idea how to mend things, how to make any thing, can’t cope with money whether they have some, little or a lot. There are a multitude of reasons why. Maybe, they are a generation removed from people who did stuff such as growing, making or mending. Maybe, they grew up in more affluent times than some of us. I think it may be because their parents were busier just trying to earn a living and had to work longer hours. Who knows?

There are people who really struggle with the whole adult stuff and find budgeting difficult because they can’t make, mend, get by, make do and have no experience or know anyone with those experiences. They find other adult stuff difficult too such as emotional moderation and control so act on impulse. almost like a lifelong teens who see it, want it and don’t reason through the questioning of do I really? Again, no judgement as people grow in different ways and experience different things.

So, what skills do we need to be adults? I thought I’d put together a list of things I picked up along the way. No one taught me any of these in school. These are not in any order of what I think is important they are just as they came to me.

  1. How to earn money. That internal knowledge that you get a job, any job and you crack on!
  2. How to keep good time. Set the alarm, get out of bed and get a wriggle on.
  3. How to keep myself, the house, the kids, the car, clothes and my surroundings clean and in order. If it’s dirty, it needs cleaning, if it’s untidy, then tidy it.
  4. How to grow stuff. It’s not difficult and now there’s google, you tube and a whole range of advice at my fingertips.
  5. How to mend stuff. I can’t weld, change a head gasket or mix concrete but there’s not much else I can’t fix.
  6. How to prioritise when you just know what’s important and what’s not.
  7. How to chop wood, chop kindling, set a fire and keep it going.
  8. How to cook a range of meals, bake bread, make pastry, bake a cake……nothing fancy just home cooking.
  9. How to budget. If you need it, you save up for it and you go without until you can. Never spend more than 75% of your earnings as you’ll need to save the rest for family, the kids, the house, the car, dentist, birthdays, Christmas and anything else that’s not in the 75%
  10. How to amuse yourself when you have no money. You know where the library is, you know that something needs fixing, fettling or fiddling with.

I’ll leave the rest to you all and we can all join in. What skills do we need to be adults? Why do you think some people struggle with the whole adult thing. I’m not saying it’s easy and it certainly isn’t difficult either. Anyway, I look forward to your responses.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

 

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32 thoughts on “Being an adult

  1. One of the most important things to learn in my view is to fail at something – even something terribly important to you – then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue on with your life. Until you learn to rise above disappointment and failure, you will not grasp a lot of important lessons in life.

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  2. This is great Frugs! I would add always remember that tomorrow is another day and no matter how upset you might be tomorrow will be a chance for things to improve.

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  3. I came from a long line of folks that did all the stuff on your list, and I never thought to do any different. I also thought it was my job to pass it on to my children and I did. My husband on the other hand was an immigrant whose parents did everything for him and taught him different values. Not all bad mind you, but different. Many discussions during our 40 year marriage have been how to come to a compromise and live happily together. That is also a skill to be learned . Great ideas Froogs and I am looking forward to seeing your next quilt!
    Barb

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  4. When our daughter was about 14 she decided she wanted to get a job, which she did, working at weekends in a country pub kitchen. She progressed to weekend work in retail, which helped her financially when she went to college and enabled her to pay for her course college trip to New York (we provided some spending money). She was shocked when she found out that her friends on the trip had been totally funded by their parents. She told me that paying her way gave her a great feeling and made her happy, which was wonderful to hear. At present, she is on her second season as a ski host, where she has to budget and cater for 15 people a day. When she came back from her first season she refused to sign on, managing to find two part time jobs instead. She has just flown back to the French Alps for her second and final time, and to make the most of the skiing. We have always encouraged self reliance, a very useful tool to have under your belt.

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    • Lots of teenagers would willingly work if they could get jobs. It’s so often not what you know but who you know. There are short lists to do voluntary work for nothing these days. All the working teens I have known recently have mummies and daddies with friends that help them get that foot in the door. Then it continues into the work place. The willingness to work hard and doing well at school or university doesn’t come in to much at all.

      No one likes show offs or smugness either. Not a lesson learnt by all it seems.

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      • Well, that was a bit personal! I’m certainly not smug, or a show off, just a very proud mother of a girl who got off her backside and got jobs off her own back with no help from anyone she knew. She phoned around pubs to get her pub job, and went into the shop she eventually ended up working in at weekends to see if they had any vacancies. A lot of teenagers today are too fussy about what job they will take.

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      • When I was 20 years old, I’m sorry to admit that I didn’t know how to grocery shop, or how to cook even the most basic recipes, or how to handle money whatsoever. My idea of grocery shopping was to buy the most expensive brands and the fattiest of hamburger meat. I had no clue. I managed to burn boiled eggs LOL When handling money, I would calculate my monthly income and then incur monthly debt payments that equaled my take home pay each month …. and we would pay everything else from my husband’s paycheck. I learned nothing from my parents wrt real living skills I’m sorry to say – they NEVER talked about money at all.

        My husband had a different upbringing and was able to show me how to shop for groceries, how to cook and how to do the basics with the check book. Neither of us had any real experience in handling the money that came into our household but my hubs was much better than I was at paying the bills thank goodness.

        One thing I did well was cleaning! My house was always clean, orderly and cared for.

        So, I would say that the basic skills for successful entry into adulthood would be:

        1. Learn to grocery shop.
        2. Learn to cook.
        3. Learn to clean.
        4. Learn money basics such as trying to save at least 25% of monthly income if possible, not spending more than 25% on rent/mortgage, keeping a lid on food expenses, keeping a budget.

        I wish I’d known this stuff at the time!!

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      • I’m thankful my parents had us fend for ourselves. By ten, I could get the fire going, peel spuds, grill meat, make gravy, I could dig up the spuds, get the washing in, hang it by the fire. I used to moan I had to do it but I learned.

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  5. Just a quick aside; it’s not always possible for everyone to have a job, in the sense of employment you travel to & that someone else pays you for. Especially not if you are caring for someone who can’t look after themselves but isn’t eligible for any help. But it IS possible for most people to earn money outside & around the 9-5. I’m self-employed as a market trader, I do car boot sales, I sell on Ebay and sometimes take on other things like delivering phone directories or hosting foreign students; if I remember correctly, you yourself had lodgers in your previous home. It’s all above board & gets declared to the Inland Revenue, and it’s money we wouldn’t otherwise have, which pays for driving lessons & dance classes & keeps my elderly & much-needed van on the road. So even if you can’t get a job, any job, you can still find ways to earn money…

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  6. I told my two that I would support them through university but they would have to pay their fees. They both worked and saved from aged 15. They slept upstairs from us from ages 7 and 9 , were given a cheap alarm clock each and expected to be up, dressed, bedrooms tidied, etc, and be ready in good time for school each day. They had jobs to do, homework and then downtime. They are now both hardworking adults but they had the best start. I have great admiration for those who struggle through from a poor start but I’m aware that many, also, have poor personal resources and/or an ” I wanna be a celebrity ” mentality.
    I’ve always thought that one of the most difficult things as a parent with resources is NOT to give your children stuff.

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  7. This isn’t what I was originally going to post but I felt compelled to comment on the difficulties of finding work as a teenager. This is only my life experience and don’t wish to upset anyone, but…

    Well done to the person who encouraged their child to work from an early age. I will also be encouraging and helping my children to find work, as my mother did for me. As a teenager, I worked for 50p an hour sweeping hair in a hairdressers, I then went on to get a job as a waitress for £1 an hour, finally hitting the jackpot (at least for me) washing dishes in a Chinese restraunt at £4 an hour. Although I put out loads of CVs, it was by word-of-mouth (and my mother’s persistence) that I got each of these jobs. This showed me that you have to work to even find a job, speak to everyone you know and let them know that you are available to work doing anything (and yes, I have cleaned toilets and to earn my way through university).

    Between them, my mother and father were out of work for a total of 2 weeks over their working career, including cleaning, labouring, factory work and a job as a lollipop lady. My mother and father have a fantastic work ethic which they passed on to my brother and me.

    Even when I was waiting to hear if I would get sponsorship for my PhD, it was my mother who encouraged me to call my supervisor and ask if the funding was through; upon reflection, I’m not sure it would of happened otherwise!

    I’m no expert on the current job market but my experience has been that when I was persistent, a job appeared. This helped me pay my way through 8 years of university. This isn’t showing off or being smug, it’s just what happened.

    So the major skills I hope to teach my children are to stand on their own to feet, be resilient and be persistent if there is something they want in life. I will be there to support them in any way I can, and that may include using my contacts.

    I should also say that my parent’s contacts didn’t get me jobs past my teenage years but they were excellent role models of how to find employment.

    Rant over.

    Thank you frugal queen for another thought provoking piece of writing.

    Nx

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  8. People need to learn to say no without feeling guilty. No to going out with friends and spending money when you can’t afford it. No to lending money to family and friends when it is for wants and not true needs. No to yourself when you want the latest clothes or gadgets. They need to learn self-control.

    Very good article. Just imagine when these skills are two or more generations away from anyone who can teach them. Schools need to provide courses in how to be self-reliant.

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  9. Last week on our local news programme they did an item about child deprivation in our area. Children were starting school not toilet trained and still in nappies and also barely able to speak. This has nothing to do with deprivation and more about young mothers clueless about what a parents job is, and also spending all day on their mobile phones chatting to their mates instead of chatting or reading to their young children. They can’t all have had useless mothers themselves, so why were they never taught how to parent?

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  10. Great post! I ditto the entire post. Personally I started babysitting at age 12 and continued through age 17. I learned much responsibility, how to prioritize, care for a houseful of kids, and most importantly, that I didn’t want a houseful of kids. My mother told me to always clean up the house and kitchen after putting children to bed, and I believe that action kept me highly sought after, so I always had weekend & after school jobs. I went on to work in hospitals doing patient care, while I studied for a degree in nursing. However, learning to work hard and do the extra bit always served me well.

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  11. I would add :

    Learn how not to take things personally in the workplace. Be polite, give your opinion, defer to your boss, be gracious to anyone who works under you, and remember *it’s not personal*.

    Mind your mouth, Learn how to disagree, debate and express strong opinions without resorting to profanities, which don’t show anyone in a good light.

    In short, emotional control is the mark of an adult. Spoiled brats cuss and sulk. Rise above. x

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  12. Really love your list. I’d add to have empathy for others- not every one gets dealt a fair hand and being able to empathise is really important. The 2nd thing I’d add is being organised. It’s a skill to balance work, a family, a commute, budgeting, home cooking etc. Love the blog as always, and love how disciplined you are. Inspiring as always.

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  13. From an early age my children have done jobs around the house (teens now) , I’m not a well mum so when illness hits me they crack on with their jobs which includes cooking tea, putting washing in and tidying up, and anything else that needs doing.If the only legacy my husband and I can give our children is if you want something you have to work for it.We don’t have a golden pot of money we struggle every month to give our children the basics but they have turned out to be independent happy kids who cannot wait to get a job.

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  14. A brilliant post Froogs.

    I think we are almost the last generation who watched our parents working hard in the home to live. To cook meals from scratch, to make or mend things, to build fires and keep a good clean home with minimal gadgets and cleaning products. Unfortunately, so many families these days have two working parents who just don’t seem to have or take the time, to teach their children the very basics of living.

    I think ‘Parenthood’ and ‘Food and Household Maintenance’ should be on the syllabus at schools, both Primary and Secondary. Not that I am suggesting that teachers should have to replace what parents SHOULD teach, but so that we can change and help the next generation and catch those that are falling perhaps through no fault of their own through a knowledge gap.

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  15. Another great post. I too don’t know why some people have not got the basic skills, perhaps the easy credit availability was in the mix. Plus as you say, each generation want to do more for their children. I was born in 1942 and I consider myself lucky, because there were hard times in the early days, I appreciate everything I have now.

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  16. Pingback: Grown Up Stuff | frugalmrsp

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