Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy-ish Steps

I'm almost a full year graduated from the University of Washington Seattle, and I'm ashamed to admit, I don't know how much "adulting" I've done in the past 12 months. Sure, I pay my student loans on time, and I know how to run a load of laundry and do the dishes, but ask me to define what a 401K is, and I'd just stare back at you blankly. Thank goodness for Kelly Williams Brown, to give us all the low down on how to grow up! 

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy-ish Steps, by Kelly Williams Brown, is a guide for twenty-somethings - or God forbid, older - on exactly how to act your age. Written at the age of 27, Brown tackled her tome on Millenial self-accountability while also working as a journalist, and openly admits throughout the book that she's not exactly a paragon of Grown-Up life, either. Still, this primer on everything from finances, to friendship, can help you get there, at least part of the way.

I was honestly super surprised at how much I enjoyed this book... what I originally thought was going to be a kind of novelty, gag-gift type breakdown of being a functioning human, was actually a comprehensive and informative pseudo-book-of-manners-slash-operating-manual covering a diverse range of issues, such as what is really required for a new apartment, how to make basic kitchen recipes, how to handle yourself in an emergency, and how to handle your friends, family, neighbors, and others in just general, daily life.

The scope stretched pretty far, and contained actual nuggets of wisdom that I'm going to be needing throughout my twenties, especially when it comes to things like the chapter on Finances, which broke down elements of personal money issues that I had genuinely not thought of before.

Does it sound like a lot of this might be common sense, or advice you might already know? Then maybe consider the fact that without opportunities for that kind of learned behavior, people in their twenties might not get too many other examples of how to deal with balancing a budget, learn how to entertain guests, or keep their apartment clean, and plants, living. We don't get Home Ec classes in high school any more; chances are your early adulthood years were pretty fraught with misunderstandings, too.

An actual anecdote of how the contents of this book applied to my early-twenties life encapsulate one of such "common sense" examples: within the scope of the past year, both of my younger sisters have gotten into pretty harrowing car accidents... and neither fully understood the correct order of operations as to how to deal with that on-scene. Sure, you're taught how to drive, but you don't get insurance policies explained to you until you've probably already barreled through one. Having the steps of how to properly document car damage listed out, no matter how common sense they may be to others, is reassuring and affirming in reader abilities to successfully deal with that kind of situation, no matter how great of a driver you are.

Of course, there was some stuff I couldn't have cared less about, too. Chapters on navigating love in your Twenties, as well as how to choose, keep, and drop your friends, came off as very obvious and maybe more than a little off-the-shoulder.

But while Brown's cavalier, expletive-laced directions might rub some parents the wrong way, the fact of the matter is, it makes the book more approachable, interesting, and engaging. It feels like the reader is getting advice from an older, more mature friend, who knows how to do things like get hired for an office job without having a full work wardrobe already hanging in the closet, which is someone I think we all need.

I actually want to pick up a copy of this one for myself - I had rented it out from the library - because despite the somewhat cringe-inducing title, this book is one that I can conceivably see myself using in the future. If you've got a graduate to buy for this year - despite whether it's a young woman or young man entering into the precarious next stages of their lives - this is definitely a purchase you should consider, and one they'd probably thank you for.

Brown also released a modern book on manners just this past April, and I know I'd love a copy of that, too.

Final Verdict: Tackling the troubles of navigating an iffy entry into adulthood - without ever sounding too preachy or mom-ish - Brown is able to translate the difficulties of first-time ownership of your own Life with humor, scope, and understanding.

Would a self-help guide for adult life have made a difference in your twenties? What was the hardest lesson you ever had to learn about growing up? Let me know, in the comments below!

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