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Adulting: 6 unquestionable things you should be doing at 18

When you turn 18, it’s like you jump down a rabbit hole and enter a strange world full of expectations. You go to bed one night a teenager with privileges and next morning, you’re an adult with scary responsibilities. You are given markers of what being an adult is and a short time frame to get it done. The demands are so overwhelming that you believe that adulting is hard.


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Why adulting seems hard

Many persons struggle with adulting because they confuse what they are supposed to do with the checklist that society has constructed for them. The Cambridge Dictionary defines adulting as actions and behaviour that are considered typical of adults, not children or young people.

It is something you have prepared for your entire life while living with your parents and going to school. Doing chores, taking care of yourself and your belongings, pursuing an education and learning to be thrifty were your lessons to become self-sufficient. At school, the hidden curriculum was preparing you to socialise with other adults in society.

People however, tell you that you should finish your education, leave home, find work, buy a car, settle down with a life partner and have children all by the age of 25. The two are different because you can act like a typical adult without fulfilling all those societal expectations. Here are 6 distinct actions that you should be doing once you are 18 years or older.

6 undeniable things that show you’re adulting

1. Take responsibility for your actions

Adulting is about admitting when you are wrong and standing full responsibility for your actions. It involves cleaning up your own mess, apologising to persons, asking for the opportunity to make things right and actually doing it when given. You learn to take responsibility over a period starting from childhood when your parents and teachers disciplined you for behaving naughty.

Persons who don’t take responsibility for their actions are usually classed as having a personality disorder. Some are Dependent Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You should consult a therapist if you are accused regularly of not taking responsibility for your actions. It will be your big step to start adulting.

2. Have a plan for your life

Making a plan for your life is a major part of adulting. This means that you set long term goals that would make you an independent, comfortable and happy individual in the future. Since everything takes time, you set several short-term goals for you to accomplish within specific periods that eventually lead up to the big ones.

The common long-term goals are wanting your own money, home, car and freedom to do whatever you please. To accomplish these, you need an education or skills whether you plan to work for an organisation or for yourself. Some people leave home to rent for a long time while others live at home and contribute to bills to save for a down payment for a house. Once you have a plan and you are working on it, you show people around you that you are adulting and they would be happy to assist you.

3. Be an asset, not a liability

Adulting is about making yourself an asset and not a liability to others. A lot of young people avoid growing up and deliberately burden their families with the responsibility of taking care of them as adults. They seem to can’t finish school, get a job or keep one, act irresponsible and lazy at home, and show no interest in becoming an independent individual any time soon. This behaviour frustrates the people who have already done so much for you and requires immediate attention.

Start adulting and try enriching the lives of your parents in any way you can. They deserve your appreciation more than ever when you turn an adult. Whether you live at home or not, you can help them pay bills, buy food and improve their house if you have money. If you can’t afford to, then make yourself useful and get your hands dirty. Clean the house, fix the roof, mow the lawn, wash the car and start planning your own life.


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4. Take control of your health

Your health is your business and taking control of it is part of adulting. As a child, your parents and teachers fulfilled the responsibility of ensuring that you consumed healthy foods, got exercise, took your vitamins, slept at night and kept happy with fun activities. When you turn 18, it becomes your responsibility to take care of your health.

Many adults get caught up in the rat race working 9 to 5 jobs or round the clock as entrepreneurs. They are so busy that they eat fast food daily, get no exercise, hardly ever visit a doctor for a check up and develop comorbidities that affect their lives drastically as they get older. Start adulting and take control of your mental and physical health. Make a diet plan, move your body often, drink plenty water, sleep for 8 hours at night and protect your mental health using stress relieving strategies.

5. Keep learning

Another crucial action that is part of adulting is to keep on learning. Some people believe that after graduating from college, they have all the knowledge they need to function in society. The truth is you live in an ever changing world and constantly need to educate yourself to keep up with the changes. You do not want to be lost in conversations with your family members, employers, employees, co-workers, potential business associates, customers or new people you meet.

Start adulting and keep learning. Keep up with current events by following news pages like CNN, BBC, NBC and BuzzFeed on social media. Read novels such as The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen on apps like Amazon Kindle or Good Reads. Learn new words daily using games and vocabulary videos. Associate with like-minded persons since birds of a feather flock together. Develop a project to break out of a routine lifestyle to keep your mind ticking and your body active.

6. Start planning for retirement

When you can think about preparing for old age while you are young, then you are adulting successfully. Living today for today is irresponsible behaviour that is commonly practised by teenagers and young adults. Once you are capable of getting a job, it is your duty to think about yourself as a senior citizen.

Planning for retirement while you are young means that you have to start accumulating money that you make now in order to support yourself when you are incapable of working in the future. Some people invest in insurance plans, cryptocurrency, buy shares from businesses or simply save their money. Also, you can plan on cutting down your medical expenses when you are older by taking care of your health while you are young.

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