So, here you are, walking on the great big path to adulthood. You probably thought it would be easy-peasy when you were growing up, but it turns out that being an adult is a lot more difficult than one might imagine. For a start, adulthood is a world of unsaid rules and missing guidelines. While you can’t go to a library without finding an aisle dedicated to self-help books; there is very little that has been written when it comes to guiding you through the essential steps of your adult life. In fact, being an adult is all about learning by yourself how to cope, what mistakes to avoid, and what the right thing to do is. It doesn’t matter how much you read about the big milestones of adulthood; there is still a moment when you need to decide for yourself without any external guidance.
Buying your first home — Sure you know the financial side of it but what about the rest?
Everyone knows about mortgage and with high student loans, it’s likely that you’ve already sat down at a desk to calculate how much you had left to pay. A mortgage calculator does exactly the same thing when you buy your first home, with the addition of necessary expenses to help you to manage monthly repayments. As scary as taking a mortgage might sound at first, adults who have been dealing with a strict budget throughout their childhood and student years are better prepared for a home loan. But the financial acumen of first-time home buyers stops there. Most homeowners don’t plan for home improvements at the time of the purchase. But this doesn’t change the fact that 40% of owners undertake renovation projects to improve their home look, while a whopping 33% do it to add value. 22% of homeowners undertake home improvement works as part of regular home maintenance, such as fixing the roof on old properties, for example. The main problem with renovation projects is that they are tricky to plan and to budget appropriately… and consequently difficult to finance! When you think that a new kitchen costs around £9,600 and a bathroom can come in at an average of almost £5,000, it’s easy to understand how homeowners struggle with the financing side of home improvements. Save yourself some troubles and discuss it with a financial advisor before making your decision!
Admittedly when it comes to finances, you can always find an expert who can guide you through the administrative nightmare of loan applications. But at the core of buying a home together, there’s the matter of moving in together permanently. This comes at a cost that no financial advisor can foresee: it’s an emotional cost. It’s the big question that you need to answer for yourself: are you ready for it? You won’t be surprised to find out that a lot of couples who move in together too early struggle with keeping their relationship together when they decide to buy a house. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve planned your budget. If life together doesn’t make you happy, whatever you’re paying for the house will always be too expensive. Happy relationships are easy to spot if you’ve been in an unhappy relationship in the past. In other words, if you are not 100% confident about your relationship or still hoping for him or her to change, then buying a house together is the last thing you should do. However, even if you are happy together and you know it, moving together into your home is synonymous with compromising on your dream decor. More often than not, you will need to merge two different styles into something new, exciting and eclectic. It takes patience and a lot of compromises on both sides to create a home that feels unified and stylish. No need to say that it will not look like the pictures of interior home magazines! But merging the best of your tastes is a skill that you both need to develop together with time.
Finding the dream job — So you think you’ve nailed the interview?
Ah, the dream job! Once you’ve set your heart on a job, it can be relatively easy to use the interview to impress your future employer, assuming you know how to avoid common interview mistakes. You know the kind, from failing to do your homework and research the company to criticising your current employer. That’s why a lot of job search forums tend to share handy tips on how to best prepare for your interviews. But what nobody tells you about is how to deal with the actual difficulties in the workplace once you’ve got the job.
You know that your productivity is perceived as a sign a hard work and quality by your employer. So, naturally, you want to be as productive as you can be by finishing projects on time and delivering thought-through material to clients and colleagues. But some teams don’t make it easy for you to achieve your goals. In fact, more and more offices have an open culture of interruptions — the typical ‘do you have a minute?’ that is dreaded by a lot of employees. Interruptions in the workplace can cost you up to 60% of your time. For those who are trying to catch up, the only way is a mixture of high stress, overtime, and short nights. For most, though, interruptions are soul-destroying and lead to resignation nearly as fast as working with toxic colleagues do. Toxic colleagues are one of those bad surprises you get when you land in the perfect job, but you realise that you can’t stand some people on the team. While there are many types of bad colleagues, the toxic ones share common traits. Their main interest is to put themselves forward, and they don’t care if it means wearing you down.
The family is growing — and the parenting books don’t help
Is there any bigger joy than welcoming a baby in your family? Most new and expecting mothers spend a lot of time reading about pregnancy, babies and what to expect at every step of child’s birth. In fact, you’ll find it difficult to meet a mother-to-be who hasn’t read any book to prepare herself for her new role. But it doesn’t matter how much you read because nothing prepares you for the realities of motherhood.
For a start, most parents experience severe sleep deprivation during the first year of having a child. For new mums, the lack of sleep can have important impacts on their mood causing loss of temper, forgetfulness, depression and tearfulness. As sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle, sleep deprivation is synonymous with health problems. Not to say that having children is unhealthy. But you need to look after yourself as much as after your child during the first year. Lack of sleep will make it difficult for you to process information properly and to understand your baby’s needs. Just like this mother who can’t understand what her baby wants, it’s important to remember to take a rest to clear out your mind. Being tired makes everything appear more stressful and complex than it is. What books don’t emphasise enough is that every baby is different. While some might be quiet and do their nights, others cry and wake up often. Forget the books, put the baby down in a safe area, and have a break. Babies cry, that’s what they do. It’s not a reflection on your skills as a mother.
Life never prepares you fully to tackle the big milestones of adulthood, from buying your first home together to having a baby. You have to learn on the go. It’s stressful, it’s challenging, and it’s often ugly. But as long as you accept that perfection is not of this world — and consequently stop expecting it from yourself — you’ll do just fine.