The 7 Pillars of Adulting: Have You Mastered Them?

updated Jul 16, 2020
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Being an adult isn’t easy. The demands of balancing bills, budgets, and a busy schedule can often be downright exhausting and trying at times, to say the least. That’s why like all things related to personal growth, acting like a grownup requires a lot of patience and practice. Needless to say, the art of maturity is a difficult one to master.

To help, we’re taking a closer look at the seven basic skillsets of adulting and providing some useful resources along the way. And while we can’t promise these will catapult you straight into full-blown adulthood, we can say you’ll have a better idea of how close you are in your journey to be a grownup.

1. Financial Basics

The ability to effectively manage your finances could easily be the most important—and difficult—aspect of adulthood. Generally, adult-level financial competency requires a grasp of the following skills: How to read a bank statement; How to maintain a simple budget; How to separate wants from needs; How to understand credit card, debit card, and loan offers; How to save money (i.e. maintain a savings account); and last but not least, how to build a positive credit history. While these might seem feasible at first glance, in reality keeping your finances under control involves lot of trial and unfortunately, error.

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2. Basic Cooking Skills

Although fast food and microwave dinners are convenient, they definitely don’t require any adult-level cooking skills. Instead, functioning adults should have a handle on at least a few culinary essentials, including: chopping simple vegetables (onions, lettuce, garlic, etc.), preparing an egg (be it boiled, fried, or scrambled), boiling pasta, browning ground beef, and thoroughly cooking chicken.

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3. Health + Wellness

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), health literacy requires: basic numeracy skills (calculating cholesterol, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels, etc.); a knowledge of current health topics; moderate exercise; engaging in self-care and mental health management; as well as the ability to navigate the healthcare system (i.e. filling out complex forms and locating providers and services). However, if you’re still struggling to understand the current healthcare state, don’t worry; you’re not alone.

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4. Household Handiness

We already know that housekeeping isn’t always easy, but knowing how to fix minor household problems is still a big part of being grownup. Here are some basic home maintenance skills that every adult should know: How to simply clean your house; how to do laundry; how to use common tools like a hammer and screwdriver; how to properly use a plunger; and last but arguably not least, how to sew a hem and mend a clothing tear.

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5. Basic Organizational Skills

Oft overlooked but essential nonetheless, basic organizational skills—think: time management, prioritizing, setting personal goals, and keeping your home and workspace clutter-free—are what separates adults from the rest of the pack. Luckily, there are loads of online resources to help take your organizing game (and hopefully your maturity) to the next level.

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6. Career Development

Employment is an integral part of adulthood. Although each individual’s career path is unique, work itself is vital to both survival and independence as an adult. Successful career development requires certain traits including: communication skills (listening, speaking, and writing ); resume competency; basic analytical and research skills; decision-making and problem-solving skills; interpersonal abilities (i.e. ability to work with others as a team); the ability to multi-task; and basic computer and electronic skills. Also, just like any other personal endeavor, proactive career development requires setting personal employment goals and holding yourself accountable to them.

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7. Communication

Good communication is more than just an adult skill—it’s a life skill. The ability to communicate on a basic level—i.e. speak, read, write, and understand others—is crucial to personal development. As an adult, adequate communication calls for proper telephone skills, listening skills, and body language as well as the ability to give and accept criticism, persuade and negotiate, process information, and motivate and support others. Again, adulting is not automatically achieved by reaching a certain age, but can be successfully accomplished through personal tenacity and resolve.

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