When we think of teenagers one of the first things that comes to mind is the idea that they have a total know-it-all thing going on. I'll be honest, as a teen I was convinced I had things at least mostly figured out. Oh god, so wrong. So very, very wrong.
So now that I'm an adult, there are tons of things I try to explain to the kids and teens in my life, but I know they just sit and stare at me blankly the way I did to my family members who tried to guide me. It's a cycle, I've just come to accept it.
But that doesn't mean teenagers aren't willing to listen to any adults - just typically not the ones close to them. So to help out the teens in your life who just roll their eyes apathetically at you when you talk, we dove into this thread.
Reddit user spaliusreal asked:
So here you go, advice and wisdom from their oh-so-very-elders to help them evolve into adults while (hopefully) skipping a few of the major missteps that we made. Get off our lawn, teenagers. Go make your own mistakes!
You don't have five dollars until you have ten dollars. If you have a period where you're suddenly rich (like right after getting your first loan) then save as much as possible. Keep a months rent at hand if you can. Honestly, between all the confusing parts of being adult, what has saved my butt more times than anything else is just having a little bit of financial cushioning.
Also buy things on sale. Thrift shops are your friend. Learning to sew is going to save you some day. Always buy a plunger before you need it.
Don't Stop Playing
You don't have to stop enjoying things just because you're an adult. Don't stop playing just because people say it's childish. Splash in puddles when the mood takes you. Sit on a swing and just be alive for a little while. Watch cartoons, play DnD with friends, build a fort with your partner in your living room. Being an adult doesn't mean you have to give up things that make you feel joyful or playful and you don't need to prove to anyone that you are an adult by way of letting go of the little things in life that make you smile.
Saving up is better than credit. If you have credit don't go past 30% of your total limit and pay it off in full every month. Bankruptcy is easy but stays with you for years. Keep cash on hand for emergencies. Water is your friend, drink lots.
Also, never lend money and never co-sign for anyone. Oh and never use "rent to buy " stores!! You'll end up paying at least twice what the item is worth.
Get yourself a good support network of people you can actually trust and who will help you out in a time of genuine emergency.
I ended up in A&E (the ER) the other day and was so grateful to have someone I trust who called an ambulance for me, as I was unresponsive.
Also, if I'm not doing too great, I have some friends I can go and talk to. I can literally pull up in their driveway, tell them I'm there and they will let me in and listen to me, no questions asked. I make sure I reciprocate that as well.
Being an adult can be scary and lonely at times and there WILL come a time when you really need someone. Make sure you have at least one person to turn to.
Nothing Is Truly Private
That what you post on social media has consequences. Be smart about it, don't post things you wouldn't want an employer or your mom to see.
Remember kids, NOTHING is truly "private" online.
I'm a recruiter. If I could count the amount of times I have rejected a candidate because of something on their social media...
Honestly it's seldom a picture that turns me off. It's usually a ton of vaguebook posts or something along those lines.
I have a 50yo client who's a very highly qualified, but now unemployed professional.
I had to send him an email that MAYBE commenting "👅👅👅 beautiful tats" on an 18 year old girls Instagram picture just isn't a good idea. The fact I had to send THAT email...
Make sure you know how to cook a few decent meals. I recommend getting a slow cooker. Throw ingredients in, walk away for several hours, boom, food magically appears. And, if you live alone, you pretty much have at least one meal a day set for the rest of the week.
Trade It In
It's 100% okay to go into a trade instead of going to college. Honestly, you will probably make more coming out of a trade school in 2 years than most people make after going to a 4 year university.
Who You Know
Your peers care about what you do, no matter what Reddit says to the contrary. The way to get ahead is through loose connections.
"Hey, we got an opening at my firm. I'll put in a good word for you."
If you're an introvert who keeps the nose to the grindstone and doesn't interact, your life will be immeasurably more difficult.
This is very good advice. A lot of folks have the mindset of "Just do good work and the rewards follow" but reality is that there's a lot of people who do good work, and not a lot of people who do good networking. It's the ones who are personable and easy to work alongside with who get promoted and hired, not the ones who just simply turn in their assignments on time.
Learn to take criticism. You will need to be able to hear things you don't want to be told, in a manner that you find irksome, from people you don't particularly like, in order to improve.
This is super important. As a teenager it's often very easy to cut out people who day things you don't like. Just stop being friends with them right?
It doesn't swing at work. These people aren't going anywhere and you'll need to find a way to work alongside them.
Further to that, whether you like them or not some of them will have valuable knowledge you NEED. They may not be someone you like. They may not give you the information in a way you like. But that doesn't change the fact their knowledge and experience is valuable and you should use that resource.
Others may point our your errors. They may even point out your errors in ways you find patronizing and mean. No one really cares about your feelings and your errors are likely causing them a headache further down the line.
This job might not mean much to you and you might think they're totally lame for caring so much about work but this IS important to them and most of the time pointing out your mistakes is a genuine effort to help you and prevent formal escalation with management.
Eventually you will be one of these people who cares about work and the 17 year old newbie thinks your lame.
Because if you go through life half assing your job and not caring you're going to spend your life in awful low levels positions.
Make Good ChoicesGiphy
Regardless of what people complain about, it is NOT that hard.
All it takes is making good choices. Making good choices can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but its not like its actually difficult. Don't take out that 100K loan for a dumb degree, your first house doesn't need to cost a quarter million dollars, you don't need a brand new car as a "reward" for whatever stupid adulting milestone you think you just passed. Started a big-boy job? Max out that 401K. No, you don't need the money for anything else. Put it in your goddamn 401K.
Your future doesn't stop when you're an adult. Keep making good choices.
It's Up To You
No one is going to make sure you are taking care of your health. It's up to you to eat well, get exercise, take care of your teeth (seriously do it now and spare yourself money and pain in the future), take all your meds if necessary, wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, and so on. What you do now will seriously affect you in the future so get into good habits when you're younger.
Making It Up
When I was younger I always looked up to adults as having it all together. As I've gotten older and am now in my 30's I fully realize that most of us don't have it all together, and at times we're just making it up as we go along.
Tips From A 42 Year Old
Tips from a 42 year old who didn't do many of these things and wish I would have... in no particular order.:
Always have a $1,000 emergency fund and do not dip in for anything but real emergencies (car broke down, etc). Replenish it as soon as you can after you have to make us of some of it.
Always put a percentage of your paycheck into a savings account that is in a different bank than your normal bank. It helps keep it out of sight and less likely to be used.
Stay active. Exercise regularly. Even when you get into a relationship, stay active.
Eat right. Do not eat McDonald's every day because it's cheap.
Learn how to cook. Take a class if you can, but learn how to make more than Mac and cheese, spaghetti, noodles, or BBQ stuff.
Study in school and get a good paying job that you enjoy. You spend 8+ hours a day with your coworkers doing your assigned tasks and potentially helping them with theirs; make sure you like it/them.
Be kind. Be forgiving. Be smart. Be on guard. Be thoughtful. Be loving. Be humble.
Struggle V. Relief
I say this as an 18 year old who moved out on her own about a year ago from a very abusive childhood. Yes, the responsibilities are hard. Yes, there are lots of confusing things that nobody can prepare you for. Yes, cheese is expensive. But there is no struggle that trumps the feeling of relief you feel when you come home to a living environment that isn't seeping with toxicity from an abusive situation. I struggle to make ends meet, and it's a thousand times better than living with my parents.
Fight The Rut
Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut. I felt really depressed as my days became work, home, gym, repeat. Eventually, my sister and her boyfriend at the time introduced me to swing dancing. It got me out socializing and learning a new skill that I loved, and I met my fiancee after a few years of going.
Uber Over AmbulanceGiphy
Take an Uber to the hospital if you aren't absolutely near death. Ambulance rides are really pricey. They often have to charge you just to come check you out. So if you can, avoid calling on them.
Until You Make A Mistake
There are more responsibilities, chores and more consequences for things that you do, but it doesn't feel any different until you make a mistake. At first it can be great but if you spend all your money without saving any you can get stuck paying your bills, calling in sick for work like you would for school one too many times can cost your job and make it harder obtaining another job. Though if you manage everything correctly it really is awesome.
Confidence Is Key
Believe in yourself. Don't get the mindset of telling yourself "Oh, well I doubt that could happen" or, "I don't think i could do that"
A lot of what stops you from doing things is you. Persevere push forward happy, enjoy life. Enjoy the little moments, because in the end they're the biggest moments you'll remember. Don't be hesitant to live, and love, and don't forget to treat yourself sometimes. Being mature, and financially secure is extremely important, but so is your mental health. What is the point of life if you have money, but, you're depressed, hate your job and become sour?
Never A Moment
That there's never a moment where it all makes sense and you know what to do. There's no manual, no classes, no one to give you instruction...You're just winging it. So, if you think for one second your parents have any clue what they're doing, you're so very wrong.
And, financially, if you can't afford to buy something twice -- especially big things -- then you can't afford it.
If school is a nightmare for you, it's not going to last forever. If school is an amazing place for you, it's not going to last forever.
Cooking Is Cost Effective
If you haven't yet, learn how to cook. You dont have to memorize how to do xyz recipe, or be able to make Gordon Ramsay jealous, but knowing a little bit of the basics can help you build up to the more complex stuff.
It will also give you the ability to feed yourself a meal a day for a week on like $10, depending on what you bought from where. Like a spaghetti with red sauce and ground meat was my go-to when there wasn't anything good on sale. Store brands can get you far.
I like to use veggie noodles for nutrition reasons, and ground turkey (that i season with salt, pepper and garlic powder) for cost reasons.
You know how teenagers complain about how school doesn't prepare them for real life? It doesn't teach you how to adult in that it doesn't teach you how to do taxes, balance a budget, etc?
Adulthood isn't knowing these things.
Adulthood is finding out how to find them out, and teaching yourself.
Not every action needs a reaction. Especially the people who hurt you. Forget 'em and never talk to them again. Don't try to get closure because you'll never get what you want out of it. None of us are owed closure and, for the most part, it doesn't exist in the real world.
You're wrong about a bunch of stuff. But when you realize it, it's going to be super frustrating when you try to tell the next batch of idiot teenagers and they ignore you.
Be prepared for a very, very low moment in your life. This will test how strong you are and you (I promise) will feel how much stronger you are becoming after going through it. Giving up will always be in your head, its human nature, we want to avoid resistance and take easier path, but you will overcome.
People will fail you many times over.
Loyalty means very little to businesses.
The more you think about the reality of this planet and how society works the more you feel out of place.
The lonelier you are, the more you judge yourself - and you can be your hardest critic. Having people around you to remind you that you are doing ok is important.
Make sure you don't go days without getting a hug, or laughing, or exercising, or having sex... the soul needs this.
Overall be present. Don't think too far ahead and don't live in the past. Good luck, you'll need it.
You don't need to be in a relationship to be validated.
Most people are like, "You're how old and you're single!?!?" Ignore them..
Take any time in between to focus on growing yourself, for you, and anyone who may come along.
Quality Of Life
When you move out on your own you won't have the quality of life you're used to from living with your parents. It took them 20+ years of hard work to get to the point they're at. You'll get there eventually, but in the meantime you're probably going to live in some crappy places with cheap furniture, appliances, etc.
You might not be able to afford to heat and cool your house to the ideal temperature year round. You won't be able to eat as well as they do on a daily basis. Your washing machine might not get your clothes quite as clean as your used to and the dryer might leave things damp no matter what you do.
I'm going to through that now, though I'm somewhere closer to the end. When you first move out you need to get so much at once (couch, table, chairs, desk, bed, cutlery, linens, dishes, pots, pans, small appliances, the list goes on and on) that no one could afford to buy nice versions of it all so you end up with cheap versions of everything.
Over time you start replacing things. That first couch gets thrown away, the Walmart pans become something brand name, the cheapest toaster you could find becomes one that has settings other than "still bread" and "charcoal". It takes time, but as long as you work at it you'll slowly improve your quality of life. As you're making that transition don't shop exclusively at Ikea or any other retailer. You don't want to end up with a place that looks like a show room floor.
The first thing you should buy when you move out is a plunger that's designed for toilets.
Being friends with someone "for forever" isn't a good reason to remain friends if you have absolutely nothing in common. Save yourself the headache and remember that most people in your life will come and go. Stop chaining down people just because you're incapable of letting go when it's time to do so.
Surround yourself with quality people versus quantity.
Learn to be independent and do things alone. It can actually be pretty enjoyable.
Your metabolism dies when you hit 30.
Just because your friends are in relationships, getting married, having babies doesn't mean you need to at the same time.
SPF and moisturizer. Seriously. Pale is better than skin cancer or looking like a saddle at 30
MLMs are bad. You will not get rich, you will alienate everyone and you will be a laughing stock.
There are few things more satisfying than a crisp $20 bill. Well, maybe a crisp $100 bill.
But twenty big ones can get you pretty far nonetheless.