Adulting: Things I Wish I Knew

This article is sponsored by The Law Shop by Skogerson and McGinn LLC

This editorial series, Adulting, is brought to you by The Law Shop by Skogerson McGinn LLC and Des Moines Mom. The Law Shop provides 100 percent customized client services for families in central Iowa. All 5 original articles from the Adulting series can be found here.

When you’re 18, you think being an adult is the ultimate freedom.

In truth, adulthood is hard. When facing the harsh reality of being an adult, you realize how many things your parents did for you. From buying groceries to changing the oil in the car or changing the batteries in the remote, you didn’t have to think about these things.

Being an adult looks easy. Teenagers long for freedom and autonomy. No curfew and no one telling you what you can and cannot do. The reality includes meal prepping, paying bills, and losing contact with friends. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. There are some great perks to being an adult like choosing who you live with and how you spend your time. 

As I reflect on my late teens and 20s here are some things I wish I had known or understood.

  • Bills have a due date with a late fee enforced.
  • April 15 is Tax Day. Taxes need to be prepared ahead of that.
  • Homeownership is full of repairs.
  • Friends are for a season, a reason, or forever.
  • Plan for your week so you stay on budget.
  • Open a savings account and checking account to keep track of your finances.
  • Learn how to parallel park and perfect it.
  • When shopping, always have a list of what to buy.
  • Invest in a full toolbox.
  • Anxiety is masked by busyness or inactivity.
  • Asking for help shows strength, not weakness.
  • Apples and peanut butter taste delicious when you can’t sleep.
  • Take time to journal your thoughts and feelings each year to see the growth you make.
  • Mental health checkups are yearly checkups.
  • A reliable car is necessary.
  • Your paycheck may only pay for necessities.
  • Start saving for retirement when you receive your first paycheck.
  • You never know when you will see a stranger again. Treat everyone with kindness and compassion. They could be a future coworker or boss.

Above all, writing this list brought my mistakes to mind. Consequently, taking time to reflect on those mistakes helped me build the list. I want to give my kids tools for success in their formative adult years. Sure they will still make mistakes and have to figure some things out for themselves, but hopefully, I can help them feel a little more confident along the way. 

What things did you learn the hard way about being an adult? 


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