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What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You About Adulthood

By Demie Makamache / 10 June 2022

Adulting 1015 things every adult is supposed to know. Source: Pulse.Ng

Whatever it is you are thinking, it’s not it. All those melodramatic coming-of-age movies we binge-watched during our teenage years? Lies! Or those moments when we used to lament and wish we were grown because adults made everything look ‘so much fun!’? Uh, what were we thinking?

And if I am being fair, being grown really did look like the best thing that could ever happen to us. You do what you want when you want, live without curfew and spend as much as you want because it is ‘your money.’ It sounds as grand as ever! 

Adulting, however, is quickly realising that you never had any money, to begin with. And after a taxing week at the office, you would much rather spend your Friday nights at home eating cold pizza and watching Bridgetons than go clubbing. 

And as sad as that sounds, that is the reality for most. Unfortunately, it cannot be taught but rather something to be learned through experience. It suddenly felt like I had a gazillion responsibilities and little room to reenact my teenage dreams. But that’s okay; it gets better, trust me! If you’re in a similar situation, hear me out, you’re not alone. Here is a list of things that will smoothen out your transition to the big world. Read on! 


Save, save, save as much as you can! 

ghetto Pokok.AsiaSave money now, and it will save you later on—source: Maitree Rimthong from Pexels.

You probably don’t want to hear this, but now is perhaps the best time to fatten that piggy bank. There will never be a better window of opportunity than your youth years, especially if you do not have much depending on you. 

You might also want to argue this one out and maybe raise the point that your salary is not that great, but believe me, a little goes a long way. Have you ever wondered how your parents could pay for the house, car, medical care, and tuition, among other expenses, while still providing necessities like groceries and the phone bill? They certainly did not pay it straight from their monthly paycheck (unless they are Bill Gates, of course!), but through years of savings. 

So one of the first steps you should take as an adult is establishing a clearly defined budget system to which you will stick to. Managing your finances will give you the room to pay for expenses such as utilities, credit cards and rent while also being able to afford a vacation trip with some friends. If you are unsure, you can start with the 50/30/20 budget rule that delegates 50% of your salary to your needs, 30% to your wants, and 20% to your savings. 

Most importantly, in the wise words of Jay Z, if you cannot buy it twice, then don’t buy it! Trends come and go, and if you can’t afford it right now, wait it out; another opportunity shall come. That Birkin bag or Rolex watch, you have been eyeing? It’s not worth sacrificing your credit score for; save it for another time, besties!


It’s okay to ask for help

ghetto Pokok.AsiaDon’t be afraid to ask for help—source: AIChE.

Being pro-independent myself, I have always struggled with asking anyone for help, even when I know I am out of my depth. One of the things you will deal with when transitioning into adulthood is thinking that you have to prove a point to the world. Yes, I can make something out of my life. Yes, I am capable of doing the impossible. Yes, I will succeed in my line of work all on my own. 

And while that may not necessarily be a bad thing, it also means that should there be a moment when you need help, chances are you won’t seek it because you have built a persona around you of being all-capable. There will be times when you simply cannot do everything on your own, and that’s okay; we are meant to be codependent beings, after all. 

Asking for assistance is NOT a sign of weakness, so do not delay asking when you need help navigating your world. Remember, whatever you are facing, it shall come to pass. You can do this!


Childhood dreams may change, and that’s okay

ghetto Pokok.AsiaWhat did you dream of becoming when you were younger? Source: Boundless.

Friends, let me tell you something, if I had a penny for every time I changed my career options as a young adult, I would be a millionaire. And that’s not because I was fickle-minded, but sometimes life has the most surprising twists you can ever imagine. At times, you have no option other than to bend. 

Now five year old me wanted to be a doctor because my dad told me so. My D in O-level Biology, however, said otherwise. My twelve-year-old self thought studying Law would be cool, but I remembered that my emotions range from zero to Viola Davis every time I get frustrated. 

Then for the longest time, I believed I could pursue Psychology, and I probably would have, but I realised belatedly that it was not my calling. So I ended up in Communication, and halfway through the degree, I seriously considered dropping out and becoming a Youtuber. Of course, African as I am, I knew better because how would I tell my parents, i.e. sponsors, that I am dropping out of school to shoot videos? 

As you grow, your perception of life changes, influencing your ultimate goal for the future. Embrace all the changes, as chaotic as they may be; that is the beauty of life. There is beauty in uncertainty which brings a new kind of hope for the unknown. Sure, you can no longer pursue what you have always dreamt you would, but as one door closes, another opens. The possibilities? Limitless! 


Managing workplace dynamics is more complicated than it seems

ghetto Pokok.AsiaHow do you find your peace in a chaotic environment? Source: Asaporg.

While you’ve already dealt with the complexities of junior school, high school, and college relationships, navigating through interpersonal relations at the workplace will have you question your social skills. No kidding!

There are times when work will sometimes feel like you are stuck in an endless group project where every task is dependent on each individual. Sometimes, it works well, and you might enjoy working in such a system. Other times, you will find yourself overworked, underappreciated and struggling to do the bare minimum. 

Your schedule can be highly demanding; you will wish you were back in elementary school, where nap times were part of the timetable. I know I do. Living in that kind of environment can feel like you’re suffocating, so you should ask yourself time and time again; what exactly are you working hard for? What do you want from this? What are your life goals? 

Finding time to reprioritise what is essential will help you find balance and motivation to make the necessary changes in your life.


A thankful heart is a happy heart

ghetto Pokok.AsiaDo you keep a gratitude journal with you? Source: Skiprichard.

In the grand scheme of things, it might appear that adulting comprises an ever-growing list of complaints, but in reality, it is not always so bad. 

Now, I know you are probably thinking; first, there was a deadly virus that locked us up in our houses and deprived us of any social interaction, then there was the war and now inflation, so how? And while we might turn to social media for relief and laugh at silly banters, there are times when even Tiktok cannot work its usual magic against that gnawing pain. 

My advice is that you take your time and count your blessings. It might not seem like much when you start, but I promise you that such simple actions can help soothe your heart during challenging moments. For starters, I am grateful you are here and that you are reading this. I am thankful for a new day and a new opportunity to live fully. What are you grateful for today?


Silver Lining

There are a million things I would like to share with you about what I have learned during this period, but that would probably take a trilogy of books or more! The beauty of life lies in understanding there can never be one-size-fits-all, and if we are being honest, we’re all just winging it. What have you learnt so far, and what are you struggling with? Do let me know in the comment section below! 


An adult still figuring out how to adult. 


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