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Adulting. Huh?


Huh? What the heck is that?!

You won’t find a definition for this buzz word in the Oxford Dictionary. Or any other formal English dictionary for that matter. But you’ll hear it among young people, who have used the term for a couple years now – when referring to “behaving” like a responsible adult. 

Urban Dictionary defines adulting: to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Classes for Adulting popped up all over the USA last year, from Maine to Texas. Advertised as “the last course you should have taken in high school,” these courses push young adults to focus on the things you have to know to function as a competent member of society. Here are some topics:

  • hang a picture

  • set a proper table

  • do laundry

  • make a bed (and fold a fitted sheet!)

  • make a healthy meal

  • have a formal phone conversation.

The goal is to help young adults and teens take pride in the way they live their life, and to do it well. 

Frankly, there has not been enough emphasis on this stuff in school and childhood; kids and parents tend to focus these days on padding university applications with impressive extracurricular activities and academic pursuits……and then there’s the undeniable social media “time suck.”

As a kid and teen, I helped make dinner.  I set the table.  I had lots of chores. Parents just aren’t expecting the same things anymore.

I’ve learned through focus group discussions with university students in my area, they didn’t feel “ready,” in many ways, to leave home.  To live on their own.

The goal behind my program “The Adulting 101 Challenge” is to mobilize teens, in a fun way, to master basic life skills, tasks that make their personal life better. I want high school graduates to be competent and independent when they move away from home for the first time.

Some of my topics to challenge include:

  • budgeting and financial know-how

  • getting a job

  • cooking

  • housekeeping 101

  • & personal health.

Being an adult is not something you simply “are”, but something you actively have to “do.”  It can be fun too — it’s not as mundane as you think!


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