There’s been a lot of media buzz in the past decade about “extended adolescence” or “emerging adulthood”. It’s not really a new concept, but the idea that it’s taking twenty-somethings longer and longer to move out, get a job, get married, commit and pretty much just grow up.
Entering adulthood is a long road.
I like this concept when it applies to men. An excuse to snicker at overgrown boys who still don’t know how to shower regularly, hold a real conversation or pay for their own rent? Bring it on. Until, that is, I take a deeper look at myself and realize that it’s a cultural phenomenon that really infects all postmodern twenty to thirty somethings, including myself, mother of two.
Technically, a mother of two should have all her ducks lined up in a row. Technically, she should have entered full-fledged adulthood before popping out babies. But no, not me. I am a millennial like all others and first-world luxury has afforded me a decade for vocational and life exploration. And, much to the older generations’ chagrin, it was a decade in which to not commit.
When I turned thirty, I sat down and brutally and honestly listed eight things that I had learned in my twenties. Here it is, in no particular order, unplugged and unedited.
8 Lessons I had to learn in my twenties:
1. Eating out is expensive. Try to cook more at home and do groceries. This will be good for your health and your pocketbook.
2. You don’t deserve to have a bigger or nicer house until you can show that you can take good care of your current house (ie keep it clean). Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
3. Don’t just brush your teeth every day. Floss too. This will cut down tremendously on your dental bill.
4. Wash your face at the end of every day. This will prevent you from getting zits and will help keep your skin, vibrant, healthy and glowing. (Girl confession: I only started doing this when I turned 30 because before then, I had a naturally good complexion. By the time I turned 28, my complexion had already begun to fade, but I was in denial. This is unrelated, but I also started wearing makeup once or twice a week when I turned 30).
5. Every problem is an opportunity. People make money out of problems. If there weren’t any problems, no one would make money or have a job. Teachers solve the problem of ignorance. Plumbers solve the problem of water and waste management. Doctors solve health problems. Firefighters solve fire problems. Bakers and Restauranteurs solve peoples’ food acquisition problems. Bankers solve money problems..etc etc etc. No one would make any money if there weren’t problems. In the same way, opportunities present themselves when problems arise (and not just financial opportunities!!). I need to stop getting overwhelmed, frustrated and depressed by problems.
6. Children are the biggest revealer or your own selfishness and are the greatest character-building test you will ever encounter (apart from crises in life). Marriage is a piece of cake compared to having children.
7. Siblings are the only peers you have who pretty much follow you from the cradle to the grave. Treasure them.
8. Switch to an electronic address book. It’s better.