It’s been a long work week and finally it’s Friday night. Your co-workers or your friends from college are thrilled about partying in a club and staying up all night. They want you to come of course, but there’s still a week to go before pay day, and your rent is due. You have not deposited to your savings in a while, and you just bought a new pair of shoes from an online retailer. Plus, it is Friday and traffic is going to be so horrible.
Welcome to adulthood, or as millennials like to call it, hashtag adulting.
This is not to say that you are becoming old and boring (well, just old, perhaps). This simply means you know your priorities and responsibilities. You have come to a point in your life when you have a decent-paying job, live alone or with roommates, pay bills, hang out with practically the same set of friends, drink more coffee than what is considered healthy, intrigued by marriage, cannot tell which is Kendall and which is Kylie, and bursting with ambitions.
While the signs of becoming a responsible adult could be a bit overwhelming, adulting doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, it could be the best time of your life. Here are tips to make the transition fun and meaningful.
Don’t pick a fight with sleep
When you are in your late 20s or your early 30s, don’t fool yourself that you can still function normally at 2 a.m. When you’re young, it’s way too easy to think that sleep is for the weak. If you keep it up, you’ll quickly learn that your energy stores are far from unlimited. You’re a working adult and you deserve to sleep. Don’t try to watch all those late-night telenovelas just to be able to join in a conversation the next day. (They are on YouTube the next day anyway) Go to bed early, around 10 p.m., and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
Start on that nest egg
You have been working so hard and you owe it to yourself to start a personal savings account and have a set amount of money go in every pay day. It is almost like paying your taxes or your Philhealth. You don’t even know it’s there. It could just be Php2,000 per pay day, but it would be enough to pay for the down payment of a car after a couple of years.
Consider living on your own
This could be the biggest adulting move. But responsible adults will come to a point when they have to move out of their parents’ home and start living on their own. Living in a condo is the most popular choice among millennials because condominium complexes are usually in close proximity to business centers. Condo living offers a convenient and comfortable setup for working young adults.
Only when you start living alone or with roommates (other than parents and family) will you learn how to take responsibility.
Learn how to make a decent meal
Stop eating out of a box. Learn how to prepare a decent, healthy meal. YouTube is there to help you. You don’t have to impress with gourmet-level dishes; learning how to cook your comfort foods would be a good start. Once you have moved out of your parents’ home, you will miss your mom’s adobo and your dad’s perfectly grilled steak. Get their recipe, learn how to cook those dishes, and have a taste of home in your condo or apartment.
Figure out your politics
You don’t have to be an activist. You are not even required to post intelligent political views on your social media account. You just have to know what’s happening around you and figure out where you stand. Political maturity is part of being an adult because it mirrors your conviction and your values. Read up on social issues that shape the world you live in.
Don’t pressure yourself and finish a 600-page book in one sitting. Just find time to read several pages and a few chapters every now and then. After all, the benefits are great. According to one study, reading for just six minutes reduces stress levels by 68%. It also enhances memory and can make you understand people better.
Find time for the people in your life
Adulting will be more fun if you navigate it with friends and family. Find time to have lunch with friends you grew up with. Find time to watch a movie with your siblings. They are your best link to the past and they are the ones likely to be there in your future. Throwback puberty stories are so much fun. Was David Pomeranz in the background during your first dance? He probably was.
Pick up an obsession
A working millennial needs to be passionate about other things outside of work. When all you see is a pile of paperwork on your desk every day and the only people you talk to are frustrated clients, you better be ready to say goodbye to life as you know it. You need to find a hobby that makes you whole and makes you feel alive. Play a musical instrument, fly a drone, learn photography or even just collect stamps.
Put a plug on the hate
Stop hating on everything and everyone that are not on the same page as you. If you hate the fact that Pinoy Big Brother is still on air, don’t stress about it. If you hate how some netizens can be so cruel, block them from your virtual life. Remember that you are in control of these things, so choose to stop hating every time.
Learn to let go without being bitter
Do not burden yourself with things that hurt you. Learn how to let these negative emotions go, even if that means letting go of some people in your life. You don’t need to pull off the best argument or be part of heated confrontations all the time. As the Eraserheads song goes, “shake your head and walk away.”
See what’s beyond your shores
No, it doesn’t have be Europe or a Caribbean cruise. Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. But part of adulting is seeing the world and discovering what’s out there. Travel is a very popular concept among millennials, but don’t do it just to have a new profile picture. Do it because you are afraid and you want to conquer your fear. Do it because you are curious. Do it because you want a new perspective. Do it because you want to seek new opportunities. Do it because you want to know how it feels to be truly “home.”
Find your own funny bone
Stop with all the hugot. Find the humor in all things. Years from now, you’ll find yourself laughing at how you cried buckets over that horrible boss. Years from now, you’ll find yourself laughing over the months you didn’t speak to your best friend because of a secret that got out. Years from now, you’ll find yourself laughing over how you thought your life ended after having been cheated on. But you don’t have to wait years to tune your personal sense of humor. Find the positive in everything and allow yourself to laugh it out.
Adulting is not dependent on age. You could be a responsible adult at 18 years old in as much as you could be an immature one at 35. But when adulthood knocks on your door, do not be afraid of it. Do not shirk from it. Learn how to navigate it with the vigor of youth and the tenacity of being an adult.