Monday, September 30


So, lately I've been reading the book Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps. It's really great, and I feel no shame in reading a self-help book, because honestly, being an adult is hard work, especially when you not only have to be an adult for yourself, but because of your responsibilities to other people as well. So, as I'm reading this book, I decide that it's a good idea for me to share my 10 Steps to Adulting, made easy. Some of these, you might think, are things that I don't do- and isn't that hypocritical? Yes, there are a couple of these that I struggle with, but when I do them, I feel soo much better about myself. There are a lot of really complicated things about being responsible that make me exhausted, but for sanity's sake, here are ten that are plain simple.

One. Have a morning drink routine. For some people, it's coffee, for others it's tea, and some start off with water. But starting your day with fluids is a grade-a way to make yourself feel more confident about facing the day. I'm not generally a fan of hot drinks, so I always make a big gallon batch of peach green tea lemonade at the beginning of the week. Peach green tea lemonade is one of the most delicious things I've ever had, and rather than spending $6 on a venti one at Starbucks, or if I'm parched, a treinta- I've got my own down to a science. It's fairly simple and has four ingredients: Great Value Lemonade Powder, 1 can of Kern's Peach Nectar (sometimes found near the ethnic food section, where they have coconut water and stuff like that), Tazo Green Tea Bags (pitcher size), and water. Bring your tea bag and water to a boil, and let it boil for as long as you want your tea strong- tea drinkers will understand this. Pour the tea into a gallon pitcher, add the lemonade and peach nectar, and then fill to the top with water- it's that simple, and the only sugar comes from the peach nectar- which is natural! On days that I need a stronger dose of caffeine I have coffee frozen into ice cubes, splenda (so I'll get cancer one day, oh well), and milk at the ready for those days that I need coffee, but don't want the hot drink. Additionally, I keep a couple single serve tea bags and sweetener in my purse, so if I need a mid-day boost, I can do so by stopping by a water fountain, instead of a Starbucks.

Two. Buy nice towels. I can not even begin to explain the luxury of a wonderful towel. A nice towel can feel like you're drying yourself off with $100 bills- figuratively, obviously, because money is not really absorbent. I'm not saying go and spend fifty dollars on one towel- that's crazy talk. I'm just saying, instead of using the towels that your parents bought you your Freshman year at the dorms, invest in nice towels (I replace mine about once a year). Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond all have a good selection of color and quality for manageable prices- so you have no excuse. Also, own more than one- and use a fresh one at the beginning of each week.

Three. Be prepared for a guest. Even if it's a friend stopping by to say hey- always keep some snacks and drinks handy. For me, this means having drink mixes on hand that you can whip up, some crackers, some cheese, and some fruit. You never know when someone will just need to talk, and company is always added to by the comfort of a snack. Additionally, if you have friends like mine, you never know when someone might need a place to say for the night. For me, this means having a couple extra throw blankets, a guest pillow (and pillow cases), a sheet set, and an air mattress (because we have a love seat, not a couch and my friends aren't munchkins). Now, when I say air mattress, I'm not saying you have to buy that luxurious double thick blah blah blah. No, they're crashing for a night, not renting a hotel room. That way, if Suzie calls at 2am because she "just needs a break from it all", you can not only offer a snack, but a night away to clear her thoughts.

Four. Vegetables. I have a lot of friends that survive entirely off of ramen noodles, microwave meals, and takeout (no judgement), but for me, that is simply not an option. Whether it's a handful of salad mix, easy to cook veggies (sliced yellow or calabaza squash and zucchini, salt, pepper, 350 degrees, 20 mins), or a fancy dish that takes two hours to make because you feel like it, have a substantial vegetable with at least one meal a day, if not two or three (veggies with breakfast is hard, I get it). An extension of this is knowing what you're going to eat. Hitting up the grocery store four times a week is counter-productive, time consuming, and silly. Think about what you want to eat that week (a general idea is fine), and get the ingredients. Also stock your general items that are easy to spruce up like a few kinds of pasta sauce and noodles. My thing is always having mac n' cheese. If you add a can of Wolf Chili and some Rotel(drained) (and because I like it spicy, Tony's and chili powder), you have chili mac- or as my friend calls it- Ghetto Mac. Judge me all you want, but it's ready in 20 minutes, easy to keep on hand, and I've never had a complaint. Knowing that you have food to eat is just one less stress during the week.

Five. Stock your medicine cabinet. So many people I know, college students and workforce-rs alike, don't have a stocked medicine cabinet. To me, who was stocking band-aids in my backpack in grade three, this seems ridiculous. This means two different types of pain relievers (for persistent and severe pain, you can alternate pain relievers every four hours, instead of 8 hours between doses), daytime and nighttime cold medicine, allergy pills, bandages (in varying sizes, but by all means, also have some power rangers ones), Bactine or alcohol swabs, triple antibiotic ointment, and  hydrocortisone cream.

Six. Know how to play at least three games with a single deck of cards, and keep a deck with you. For me this is Go Go Go, Speed, and Klaberjass (as well as a couple single player games). Avoid games like go-fish, partly because everyone always knows them, and in other part because they aren't actually entertaining. All this is because you never know what kind of situations you'll get stuck in, and as a general rule, it's easy to start up a game of cards that isn't detrimental when you have to pick up and move on with your day.

Seven. Read books you don't want to. This is for readers, which I fully understand not everyone is. For the TV watchers out there, watch something you don't want to. Over the years we get stuck in a pattern. I generally read dystopian teen novels. This means that for every two books like that I read, I pick up one at Goodwill of a completely different genre. Recently I picked up Mr. Muo, which was definitely not something I'd generally read of choice. Not only did I actually enjoy it, I got a (albeit) satirical view into Asian cultures. Before that it was This Voice in My Heart and before that it was Getting to Maybe. For TV viewers or movie watchers, watch a 45 minute documentary on Russian Prison Culture (I did this last weekend, I'll never regret that choice), or the all-so-popular Supersize Me. If you normally watch stuff like that, watch a kid's movie or something like Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal- you'll expand your horizons, and maybe find something you never knew you enjoyed.

Eight. Be responsible to someone else of your choice. It's really easy to get in the routine of taking care of yourself and the things you're required to take care of, because well, you know what you need and want. But guess what? Being responsible to or for someone else can not only make you feel better about what you're doing, but it helps out that other person! It can be agreeing to eat at least one meal a week with another person (a friend and I trade off on Monday and Wednesday), volunteering, or agreeing to go to a city council meeting. Making sure you're accountable to someone for this is key. If you only volunteer when it's convenient, you'll never get to it. If you only attend a meeting when you feel like it, you'll be sitting on your couch come meeting time with a bowl of popcorn and not a care in the world. Being involved with other people and taking part in each-others lives will significantly make you feel better about your own, trust me.

Nine. Stay inspired. If what inspires you and motivates you is going on a run, go for it. For me, it's a fresh piece of art each week, whether it's printed off the internet or something I've done myself, I have a spot on my bulletin board just for that purpose. Seeing something new and inspiring just gets me going in my week, no matter how daunting that week is. Fresh flowers are also a favorite way of mine to be inspired- because I love love love nature. Staying inspired can be that you take an icy cold shower to wake you up in the morning or you make one absolutely delicious thing to eat once a week- it's up to you.

Ten. Last but not least, be happy with you. This can be the hardest thing out of all of this. You have your own way to make you feel happy and satisfied. My way is to listen to a playlist made by me, for me, cleaning up my space, and taking a shower. Those days when I look in the mirror and am just frustrated- and we all have those days, whether they're once a week or once a year, they happen- I set aside time to make me feel better about myself. I keep a $30 body scrub I bought in Paris just for those days. I read a portion of my favorite book, I sip on my favorite tea, and I remind myself why I'm awesome. You have your own way of doing it, and if you don't- FIND ONE. Notice how emphasized that is? It's because it's so important. Everything is all for naught if you can't look yourself in the mirror and count to 30 without looking away or feeling less than amazing.

So there they are. Long, maybe, but advice that I felt needed to be shared? Most definitely!