On “Adulting” by Kelly Williams Brown

I do things that real adults should not do. I rarely make my bed, I am guilty of ignoring spills until they are weirdly sticky or crusty, and I too-often take ice cream from the freezer at work and call it dinner and/or lunch. Yes, adulthood has gone well for me in my 1.5 years of legality.

I bought Adulting: How to Become a Grown Up in 468 Easy-ish Steps  from the “Living Your Best Life” section of Barnes and Noble when I was most certainly not living my best life. In fact, that weekend I was in the sort of slump that could only be nursed with four new paperbacks. This is an adult thing to do, right? Also, who knew such a category of books even existed in Barnes and Noble? Not me, but man I’m glad I found this handy little manual to life.

Let’s begin with the title. I was immediately drawn to this book because it offered a series of organized steps in one great big list, broken up into manageable, generally titled chapters, like “Domesticity” and “Fake It Till You Make It” and “Times Were Tough.” I love lists just as much as I love life hacks, and this book offers plenty of both. Brown presents tons of legitimate advice on the things you may not think about (like literally testing the water in the apartment you’re about to buy) as well as the things you’re definitely thinking about (like the fact that your present relationship status is, in fact, a-ok). Her modern-day-female-Yoda voice also tells us that toilet paper does not just appear on the roll, the rubbed-off shreds of mascara under your eyes are not “failure flakes,” and, perhaps most importantly, you are not a special snowflake so you may as well start accepting that one right now.

I’m only 19, and many of the challenges of real life are still taken care of for me — my mom sends care packages with my favorite snacks, my dad helps me manage my bank accounts (aka, he calms my anxiety when I feel I’m spending too much on food and fun), my meals are (mostly) provided through a (fairly decent yet outrageously expensive) university meal plan, and I don’t really face a lot of pressure to find a real people job. Nevertheless, no matter your place in young adulthood, this is THE book you should pick up in a burst of adulting inspiration, or on those days you need to feel just a *teeny bit* better than the hot mess sitting next to you on the train. Most importantly, it’s a funny and insightful how-to on pulling your life together, sucking it up, and at least looking the part in the adult world.

While my life has slowly but surely progressed toward adulthood since finishing this book, I’m aware there are still struggles ahead for all of us. So on those rough days, I wish you good luck and a copy of this book within arm’s reach at any given time.

P.S.: Brown is also a blogger. Check it out here.

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