Adulthood is hard. Even years into it, you'll sometimes find yourself struggling to figure out the most random parts of living a dignified, accountable existence.
Maybe because they had to (having to raise another human and whatnot), but our parents just seemed to have had a lot more together than we do. So we've compiled a list of all the things that we wished they — someone, anyone — had taught us before the real world beckoned and how to do them.
1. How to move into a new place without having a meltdown.
College was fine, because parents and RAs were there to cradle us into those filthy dorms. But once you move into your first actual apartment — roommates or not — chances are, it was much harder.
From figuring out the utility bills to trying to fit all your furniture through that sorry excuse for a front door, it just seems like there's a lot more than you thought that goes into living on your own.
But in case you're ever willing to put yourself through that horror again (and you will), here's a thorough infographic to give you a head start the next time.
2. How to figure out insurance stuff.
What is this thing you pay a monthly fee for and then don't really get any financial reimbursement from when you visit the doctor/fall into a manhole/accidentally hit a traffic pole because you tried to avoid knocking into a deer?
The murky waters of insurance are something that likely 90 percent of us have to deal with, so be sure to schedule a sit-down with your insurance providers or employer so that you really get a hold of this. It's pretty darn important.
3. How to manage your finances.
In other words, "How To Make Sure You Don't Spend Your Weekly Food Allowance On Friday Night Drinks. "
This is perhaps the most consistently challenging part about being financially independent (i.e., an adult). Keeping a log of all your expenses, no matter how tiresome it may get, can make a huge difference. At the very least you'll get to kick yourself in the bum once you realize how all those needless snacks you can't seem to stop buying add up.
4. It's not nepotism — it's networking.
Sorry, kiddo. That's just how it works.
If you want to be one of those who beats the system, a ton of networking practice, having a strong presence (social media or otherwise) and simply being yourself are some starters to up your networking game. Just remember that you're building meaningful relationships, not trying to mine them for your benefit.
5. How to change a tire.
This feels like something you'd learn only after your tire explodes and you're stranded on a lonely road surrounded by the woods with the last gas station some 10 miles away. Is this the beginning of a horror movie or real life?
Would learning to change a tire warrant clearing out your day's schedule? We think so. Better safe as an expert tire changer than sorry as a lone hitchhiker on the road.
6. How to file your taxes.
Tax season is that dreaded time of the year when you completely ignore filing your taxes and then hurriedly get it done at the very last minute.
While most people hire a tax professional to help them, if you insist on doing them yourself, there's always an IRS-trained tax preparer to soothe all your tax-related concerns. Alternatively, you could also use one of the many paid or free tax preparation softwares available online.
7. How to hold a freakin' wine glass.
Forget trying to decipher its undertones of oak: how do you really hold a glass of wine? Pinch it at the stem? Grip the base of the bowl with one hand? Cradle it with both hands and drink it like warm soup?
Though it really does not matter, in some situations, you will be judged by how you hold your glass of wine. Ultimately, you're supposed to delicately lift it by the stem — whether it's red or white wine — as you silently hope the glass won't smash against your teeth.
8. How to cook and eat healthy.
You're tired of your slipshod pasta-for-one meal, and isn't it about time you try something new and healthy for the beginning of the rest of your life?
This one's easy — there are endless websites with healthy, no-brainer recipes on the Internet. What's even better is roping in a friend who genuinely enjoys making food that doesn't come in a box; that way you can learn insider tricks and have a post-dinner hang.
9. Student loans are so real.
Paying off your student loan debt might make you despise the higher education system, but unless the government gets its collective nonsense together for a massive overhauls, you just have to do it.
Again, it goes back to managing your finances. Just be sure you look into whether you qualify for loan forgiveness programs or income-based payments. It just may make your life way easier.
10. What credit score?
This is that awful thing you need to have accrued when you want to apply for a mortgage, loan or a credit card. It is basically a measure of how reliable you are of paying what you owe. The higher your credit score, the lower risk you're considered.
It's a big ole twisted saga, but having a true adult explain it to you might help. Or, if you want a go at it yourself, sites such as Credit Karma can help you navigate this overly confusing system.
11. How to drink moderately.
Once you hit the legal drinking age, the excitement at being able to legally buy your own booze is overwhelming. At that point, being hungover is just a regular part of your weekend, as is not remembering much from the night before — and that comes with a whole host of other potential dangers, too.
If only part of our high school education encompassed teaching students to drink responsibly — hydrate, don't accept anything from strangers, watch each other's backs and, in general, just be smart about it.
12. How to make friends in new places.
The thought of making new friends can be enough to make you break out in hives from anxiety, but isn't life way more fun when you have people to do things with?
Looking out for a community with like ideas or hobbies or inviting your neighbor over for dinner is a good way to start. But just remember you can't get anywhere on this front if you don't put yourself out there, at least on some level.
13. How to read contracts.
Naturally, when someone places a contract — a binding, legal document! — in front of you, it's hard to resist the instinct to shove it into your mouth so it will never again see the light of day.
It will be tedious, but reading the entire contract is not something you should skip out on. Be certain on your role with the other party involved, and obviously, make sure you don't miss any of the fine print. And if it looks ends up being un-negotiably unsavory, then maybe do consider eating it, after all.
Because being a grown up involves a lot of pains in the butt, but take solace in the fact that it comes with the ability to eat ice cream for breakfast.
Cover image via iStock/shironosov