On Being A Grown Up

I saw this article on The Daily Buzz the other day: The Competent Adult’s Checklist. For me, being an adult means being able to bake a pie. CHECK. But here’s what’s on their list, and what I think of it.

What’s on your list of required adult skills?

1. Understand Body Language – Yes, this is a good one to have, if you want to avoid being punched on a regular basis. But it does amaze me how many adults are able to get through everyday life with no apparent understanding of this one.

2. The Genuine Apology – I’m Canadian. COVERED.

3. Adhering to a Budget – Critical, so much so that I think a course on basic money management should be a high school requirement.

4. Showing Compassion – This seems to me to be a basic thing I call Being Human. The idea that someone would have to learn this seems odd, and the idea that you can’t learn it until you’re an adult also seems odd. Don’t be jerks, people.

5. Be Your Own Tailor – I am very, very passionate about this one. Just the other day I spent an afternoon sewing patches on various Scout/Guide/Brownie uniforms and it occurred to me that by the time I was as old as my oldest two kids, I was sewing things on a regular basis. By grade 8 I could also knit and crochet. I feel like these are dying arts – for shame, the loss of home economics. Memo to self: teach kids to sew (in my spare time HA HA HA).

6. Learn Photoshop. DONE.

7. Asking for Help – um, NOT DONE. Man, I suck at this. But I can make a pie! Six of one, half a dozen of another.

8. Learn to cook more – done, not by choice, but it was probably good for me. I just realized that this is also something I want to work more on teaching the kids. And, in fact, this whole list is really a list of “stuff you should teach your children.” Except Photoshop, they can get their own damn license someday.

9. Public Speaking – definitely a good skill to have for any adult. I still get nervous but it’s not debilitating, I can get through it.

10. Speaking a Second Language – I count this one as a “nice to have.” It definitely helps you be more aware of the global stage and open to new cultures, as well as (I hear) upping the flexibility of your brain. But I got a lot of other stuff to do first. Maybe when I’m retired.

11. It’s OK to say No. TOTAL FAIL. Send me back to high school!

12. Time Management – Something else I feel should be actually taught in high school, instead of assuming that throwing six projects and two essays at a kid at once will help them figure it all out, in a sink-or-swim kind of way.

13. Being Open to Feedback – Something that’s hard for everyone. I give myself about a B- on this one.

14. Learn a Lot of Keyboard Shortcuts – Hm, maybe – but isn’t that more of a requirement for being a whippersnapper teen? Perhaps this one should be changed to “text using only your thumbs at the speed of light and use at least three acronyms.” Actually, now that I think about it, the true mark of adulthood in this category should be, “LEARN TO USE PROPER GRAMMAR AND SPELLING.” SHEESH.

15. Have Quality Alone Time – YES. A lot of people need time to learn that being comfortable with yourself while alone is a must-have skill, and that the company of jerks just for the sake of having company isn’t worth it. (I’ve had this one covered since I was about six days old, so we’re good here.)

16. Always Back Up Your Computer – Um, excuse me, I just thought of something I have to do.

17. Approaching Someone For A Date – I agree, this is a critical adulthood skill, as well as its counterpart, “Gracefully Accepting a Rejection and Moving On.” Can’t claim to be able to do either, though.

18. Mastering the Power Nap – DONE.

19. Learn to Negotiate – NOT DONE. I hate confrontation so much I never, ever, negotiate. EVER. And I agree, this is something real adults should be able to do competently. I smell New Year’s Resolution.

20. Make Friends Anywhere – A great skill to have in your back pocket and a hard one to cultivate. I’m in the B range on this one, too.

A commenter on this post added some more that I think are great – learn to drive, basic first aid, learn how to take care of a house (still working on it), know the maintenance schedule for your car (DEFINITELY still working on it), basic tool use, and basic personal hygiene. How do you stack up, and what would you add?

6 thoughts on “On Being A Grown Up

  1. Lighten up on yourself on negotiation, Lynn. I think this goes way beyond the basic meaning of “bartering” and into negotiating many, many things with tact and diplomacy to move situations forward. Did you get your kids to school today? Did anyone cry first? If you answered “Yes” and “No” you just might be a crack negotiator!

    1. Huh, I like it! You’re right – I may have trouble negotiating in tough business settings, but with the kids I’m a pro. I need to start thinking of the world as my children :).

  2. Zhu

    I would add “understanding that life isn’t always fair, and that it is OKAY”. I mean, not okay in a “ah ah, let’s let down the least fortunate!” but as in you can’t really claim stuff just because X or Y has them. This kind of attitude drives me crazy. Yeah, it’s not fair that X works less and gets pay more, that V is prettier, that B has more friends… but who’s keeping score??

  3. I thought I was in trouble since I can’t do the first one AT ALL. (I fear I’m somewhat autistic. No joke.). But I do okay on the others, but mostly because I’ve learned how.

    If you really want to learn how to negotiate, ask me to teach y. I have a fail proof method that’s very algorithmic, which helps when it’s not a natural ability.

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