All grown-up: a definitive guide to #ADULTING

Congratulations Batch 2017, you’re officially unemployed!

Right now, you’re probably scrolling through Facebook looking at all the pictures of your graduation day, wondering what’s next for you. Or maybe you’re in the last few weeks of college or university, wondering how you’re going to conquer a world dominated by adults who seem to have it all together.

Right now, you’re probably scrolling through Facebook looking at all the pictures of your graduation day, wondering what’s next for you. Or maybe you’re in the last few weeks of college or university, wondering how you’re going to conquer a world dominated by adults who seem to have it all together.

I’ve been there, and so have thousands of other people who’ve asked themselves the same thing: now what?

So let’s discuss the basics of what it’s like to become an adult, including how to prepare for job applications and interviews, getting a job, and other daunting things like budgeting, committing to your obligations, and career planning.

1. Budgeting and Saving

Money isn’t everything, but only if you have enough of it to get your through. I know that when you get your first paycheck, you’re going to feel elated and think that you deserve to treat yourself. After all, isn’t this what being an adult is like? Working hard to be able to get yourself the things you’ve always wanted? I’m not stopping you—by all means—get yourself new clothes, a new phone, or travel somewhere if you can afford it.

However, you have to keep in mind that this spending isn’t meant to go on forever. Eventually, you’re going to have to stop yourself from impulsively buying everything in sight and keep a budget. It doesn’t have to be a difficult ordeal, you just need to exercise self-control.

Divide your paycheck into three – based on your needs, wants and savings. Adulting requires being responsible for yourself, and this includes your bills. Tend to the regular payments as soon as you get your paycheck so you don’t accidentally spend it on drinking or shopping. Personally, I’d rather have electricity instead of spending that money instead for new clothes that I’m sure can wait another day.

Anything left after paying your bills can go to the things you want to spend on. You don’t have to start saving right away if you don’t think your pay can cover it just yet, but to help you, a rule you can follow is that not more than 40 to 50 percent of your money should go to paying for your needs, and you should save at least 20 percent. The rest, do whatever you’d like with.

Saving is important because you never know when there’s going to be an emergency, and it’s always best to be prepared. Trust me, as you get older, you’ll appreciate not having to scramble for quick solutions because you already have something set aside for emergencies.

2. Decluttering and saving space

You’re probably not keen on having to clean out your stuff regularly, but it’s a habit you should get into. It’s going to help you be more organized, after all. Dedicate some time during your weekends off to clean around your space, and tend to your pets, or vehicles. It’s such a tito or tita thing, but decluttering saves you time when you’re in a rush to put together an outfit in the morning, and it’s less of a hassle when you know where you put your things instead of turning over every single pillow on the couch.

3. Learn how to cook

If you already know how to do this before graduating, good for you. Unfortunately for some of us, cooking is a habit not many people get into, but definitely should. There’s only so much take-out food your stomach can handle (and it’s really unhealthy, too).

4. Commit to your obligations

No more Filipino time, no more agreeing to things when you don’t intend to follow through on them. You’re responsible for everything you do and agree to. If you don’t feel like doing something then don’t agree to it in the first place, just say you’re not interested, don’t force yourself into things that don’t hold your interest. In this way, you can have a better idea of what you want out of life, what kind of things you want to do, and it’s going to save you the time and stress.

Saving is important because you never know when there’s going to be an emergency, and it’s always best to be prepared. Trust me, as you get older, you’ll appreciate not having to scramble for quick solutions because you already have something set aside for emergencies.

5. Prioritize

This also has something to do with work-life balance. You can’t go around skipping work just because your friends called you up asking to hang out. Spontaneity is fun, but only if you’re sure there’s nothing more pressing you need to attend to. At the same time, you have to be careful not to spend too much time at the office. No matter how much you need to get done, that’s time you can’t get back. Find the balance between spending time with people you care about and excelling at what you do. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. I guess part of being an adult is learning how to compromise and tailoring your life in a way that best suits your work and lifestyle.

6. Networking

Keep your friends and mentors close. They’re the ones who are going to teach you how to get those four odd things in your fridge and whip it into a delicious meal. These are the people who will teach you that if you get Mang Boy a bottle of brandy, he’s going to offer to help you move your furniture when you ask him to. Everyone feels confused at one point, and frankly, I know people who are still confused. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why it’s important to keep people you trust close to you, but also know that networking means reaching out to those whom you think can help you lead the life or career path you want. As an adult, you might think you don’t really need anybody as long as you’re getting by fine, but this is not always the case.

7. Think about the career path you want to be on

Part of this is figuring out what you actually want to do. And right now, maybe that’s a haze, but at least take some time off binge watching Stranger Things and think through what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be a concrete thing, say, you don’t really know right now if you want to be head of cardiology, but you just know you want to save lives. That’s at least something. This helps you figure out where you should start.

… you have to be careful not to spend too much time at the office. No matter how much you need to get done, that’s time you can’t get back. Find the balance between spending time with people you care about and excelling at what you do.

8. Lead the life you want

You don’t have to pretend to not like something when you actually enjoy it. Don’t go around saying you’re just making a statement when deep down, you actually do enjoy Justin Bieber’s music. Because honestly, who cares? Enjoy and like things unapologetically. Life and adulating is already tough enough as it is. Also, strive not to let things affect you too personally. Personally, I’ve been rude or snapped at a stranger who didn’t deserve the anger just because I was angry and that person was around. I might have been at a bad place in life then and didn’t really pay attention to how my actions affected everyone around me, even strangers. As you grow older and meet more people who are still navigating how to ‘adult’ like you, remember that majority of the time, you don’t have to take things too close to your heart. Learn how to let things go.

Photo courtesy of addictedtoaniston and Sony Pictures Classics

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