A for effort: 7 ways to up your adulting game

There’s self-care, and then there’s taking care of yourself. When you reach a certain age, the lines between the two start to blur. In school there may have been home economics lessons but nobody ever takes you aside to show you how life really works.

So you know how to pay the bills. So you know how to do the laundry or cook a mean sinigang from scratch. However, if growing up teaches you anything, it’s that the older you get and the further you go, the more you need to keep on working to get better. True independence is a (probable) myth, but you can come close.

If witches can become the Supreme by performing the Seven Wonders, then you can become the Ultimate Functioning Adult version of yourself by mastering these lesser-known skills.


It happens sometimes: You think you’ve scouted the most perfect find at a tiangge, and it’s practically a steal — until you see the exact same thing at another store and it’s priced significantly lower. Now you just feel scammed. It may seem like a cheapskate’s trick, but haggling can really save your wallet, not to mention your guilt. If you’re not sure how to start, simply asking, “Ano pong last price?” or offering to pay 30% of the given price will do.


Remember how Anna, Felicity Jones’ character in Like Crazy, is a whiskey girl through and through? Whether it’s perfecting the way you like your tea or coffee or deciding on your go-to hard liquor or cocktail of choice, being able to pinpoint your signature drink helps you get to know yourself better. It’s an exercise in stability, and the certainty of it builds character. You won’t have to take forever deciding on an order at a cafe or at the bar, either.


In college you get used to going out with friends and trying out the latest restaurants and trendy establishments. Why not stay in for a change? If dinner’s too formal, make like the gang from the TV show You’re the Worst (minus the self-destructive tendencies) and plan your own indoors-only Sunday Funday: Home-cooked brunch, a DIY taco bar, lively discussion, what have you. There’s no secret speakeasy scavenger hunt here, but pour up anyway.


Say a button pops off of your favorite jacket. You’ll most likely wait forever to get it fixed, if at all, because natural wear and tear has gone shabby chic — and because, let’s be honest, those sewing exercises in elementary school were never going to last in your adolescent brain. You don’t have to be so proficient that you’ll be able to create a whole outfit from scratch. All we’re saying is, being able to whip out a kit and reattach that button within minutes might be useful.


The daily grind can be so draining that at the end of the day, you just want to sink into bed and drift off. Dinner becomes a chore, let alone applying all these creams and toners. But trust: it’s a great way to relax, and you’ll feel and look much better in the morning. If you’re not sure what works for you, a trip to the dermatologist won’t hurt. (Much.)


You can Snapchat all day, blog religiously, and set alarms for every item on your to-do list app, but nothing could ever take the place of planners and of course, bullet journals. You don’t have to be the voice of your generation or a great artist to create journal entries that mean something. The minute you overthink it is the minute you’ve blown it. Invest in a good notebook, put pen to page day after day, make up your own arbitrary system, and see where it goes.


Enough with the passive aggression! Too many friendships and all kinds of relationships — familial, romantic, professional — have been destroyed thanks to miscommunication and, okay, pettiness. Brooding and snark get you nowhere, but calm and honest conversations do. It’s daunting to be open to the people in your life about difficult things like mistakes and grievances, but you come out of it feeling more positive and stronger. Yay, character development!

Movie still used as header via  Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress (2011)

#career #health

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