Young people often find themselves struggling with becoming a responsible adult. It’s a cliche that young adults have trouble living up to the same standards held by previous generations, and it’s not entirely an accurate one — while the current generation may seem less productive than the ones before it, it also faces significant stressors that no human society has had to face before.
Of course, just because young people have justification for the lives they live, sadly it doesn’t spare them from the consequences of their actions. Procrastination, unhealthy habits, and forgetfulness may all be natural results of daily stressors, but that doesn’t make them any less destructive. Hopefully, future generations will be better prepared for the world they grow up into, but for now, it’s imperative for you to focus on becoming a responsible adult.
Many people find themselves all grown up with unanswered questions that their parents should have answered for them. How much money should you have left at the end of the month? Do urgent cares do physicals? Is it okay to get a pet while you’re still struggling to get by? While the answers to all of these questions will seem obvious to some people, it doesn’t change the fact that young adults often feel painfully unprepared, even for simple things like these.
This article will give you some tips and advice for becoming a responsible adult. Whether you need to get adult braces or control your spending, you’ll find at least some of the answers you need here.
The idea of personal responsibility is that human beings cause their own actions, and therefore are responsible for the results of those actions. With that said, anything mentioned in this article could be listed under personal responsibility. But in this case, we specifically mean taking responsibility for things that affect your health and safety: actions that impact your “person.”
You’d probably rather your family didn’t have to stage a drug and alcohol intervention for you to make improvements to your lifestyle. But even if you aren’t flirting with dangerous substances, thoughtless actions of all kinds can land you in trouble. Here we’ll talk about how to take responsibility for your health and staying out of legal trouble.
Don’t Rely on Healthcare for Your Health
Too many people take their health for granted. Then when they get sick or hurt, they enter “crisis management mode” and expect the doctor or over-the-counter drugs to solve their problem. The problem is, their sickness goes a lot deeper than the current symptoms they’re experiencing.
Healthcare is meant to be a last resort for keeping you healthy. It isn’t a complete strategy all on its own. While medicine can sometimes do wonders for ill individuals, its positive effects will be limited if you’ve allowed yourself to slip into poor health for a long time. For best results, your immune system needs to be working alongside medicine. If your immune system is weak and unhealthy because of bad lifestyle choices, you’ll get sick more often, and have more difficulty getting well again.
Becoming a responsible adult means owning the part you have to play in maintaining your health. Do some research on nutrition and diet, and find out what are some simple things you can do to boost your health. An article from Healthline is a great place to start because it presents a simple overview with clear steps for improving nutrition.
Get Medical Care When You Need It
Nothing we’ve said is meant to downplay the importance of medical care. In fact, too many young adults postpone getting treatment when they need it, and this only makes things worse. If you need adult orthodontics treatments, ignoring this can lead to bigger problems down the line. Sometimes this is because they feel like they can’t afford care, but often, it’s just because they feel they have better things to do.
If you have a condition you’ve been ignoring, do whatever it takes to get a checkup from a good doctor. Most states offer Medicaid to low-income adults even if they don’t have a disability. Even if Medicaid won’t cover the treatment you need, some churches or nonprofits might help you out if you ask them. Finally, if you have to save money for a little while to get treatment like vision therapy, that’s not a bad idea either.
In general, practice common sense when it comes to caring for your body and health. If you have a cut, use waterproof wound covers before going swimming. If there’s ice on the ground, exercise caution when going outside to avoid slipping. No one is immune to infections or broken bones, so treat your body with care.
Stay Out of Legal Trouble
Becoming a responsible adult involves caring for your health because it maximizes your freedom and mobility. If you get sick, you could be bedridden or prevented from thinking clearly or traveling. No one wants to live like that, which is why prioritizing your health is so important.
But illness isn’t the only threat to your freedom. Besides staying out of trouble when it comes to your health, you should exercise care to avoid trouble with the law as well.
No one expects to become a criminal, and often people are prosecuted for crimes they didn’t realize they were committing. Misunderstandings and mistakes can be blown out of proportion and cause more trouble than you expect. For example, if you’re in a loud, heated argument with a family member, a neighbor could become concerned and call the police. While you wouldn’t expect to go to jail over an argument, this could be exactly what happens without an excellent defense, as judges often give severe sentences to first-time offenders.
The most obvious way to avoid trouble with the law is to stay away from trouble in the first place. Don’t play around with drugs, don’t drive after drinking, and avoid people who seem to attract negative attention.
Beyond the obvious, the best way to stay out of trouble is to practice extreme politeness. This doesn’t mean you need to be a pushover, but you shouldn’t raise your voice or pound your fists on the wall when a simple explanation will suffice to get your point across. Recognize that sometimes it’s better, in the long run, to walk away from a fight. Just because something seems like a big deal in the moment doesn’t mean it will seem as significant when you calm down — especially if you’re forced to calm down behind bars.
Everyone would like to stay out of jail and keep their health intact, but often their biggest concern is financial. Somehow this is one area that always seems to be a problem for not just young people, but nearly everyone. Whether you’re a graduate with student debt or a homeowner trying to afford HVAC installation, becoming a responsible adult seems a lot harder when money is involved.
The good thing about being young is that you’re less likely to have significant costs to deal with. While the elderly have medical bills and costs from personal injury attorneys, and the middle-aged middle-class have homes and cars to maintain, finances tend to be simpler when you’re just starting out in life. Of course, that doesn’t mean becoming a responsible adult is ever easy. But hopefully, the following tips will get you off to a good start.
Stabilize Your Income
Whether you need to pay down debt or save for retirement, the first step is stabilizing your income. That means you need to make sure you’re earning a steady amount of money every month, and that it’s enough for you to get by with cash to spare. That might mean getting a better, higher-paying job, or it might simply mean cutting costs so you’re spending less money on unnecessary things.
If you’re falling back on credit cards to get by or you’re just barely earning enough from your job, either you aren’t earning enough or you’re spending too much. To find out which it is, carefully track your spending for one month and take note of which purchases are essential and which ones aren’t. Often people find themselves paying for expensive drinks they could make for less at home, or for streaming services that they barely watch. You don’t have to give up all little pleasures to cut costs effectively. You might start fixing nice treats from scratch at home instead of buying them from the cafe. And instead of having all the streaming platforms at once, you could use just one every month, and switch to a new platform when you’re finished watching the shows you really wanted to see.
If you calculate all your costs and find you simply need more money to get by, you might need to increase your skills before you can get a better job. That doesn’t mean you have to go to college, though. Countless certification courses and educational programs exist online, some of which are free. Even the paid programs are far less costly than going to school. While having a lot of courses on your resume may seem less impressive than a degree, more and more businesses are starting to prioritize functional knowledge over degrees. If you can prove your worth, you don’t necessarily need a diploma to prove it for you.
Lower Your Expenses and Start Saving
Whether you’re having trouble getting by or not, it’s always a good idea to cut costs where you can. You can usually find an auto insurance group that offers insurance at a lower price than what you’re paying. As we mentioned already, you can maximize your savings on entertainment by purchasing just one streaming service at a time, and you can save on food by cooking at home. You can even call your credit card companies and negotiate lower interest rates, as explained in this highly-detailed how-to article.
Once your income exceeds your spending and you’ve cut costs as much as you reasonably can, it’s time to start setting money back. At first, you should focus on creating an emergency fund with at least three months worth of expenses. Once you’ve saved a few thousand dollars, you should think about investing that money with a solid strategy so that it doesn’t lose its value while sitting in the bank.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
Earning more than you spend is the first step to improving your finances. In fact, if that was all you did you’d be pretty well off. But the subject of finances is complicated and constantly changing, so you should invest a little time in learning about money whenever you can. While you’re at it, be on the lookout for opportunities to earn or save more.
Your job may offer incentives or benefits to help its employees save for retirement. You should talk to your Human Resources manager to find out what benefits your employer offers that you aren’t already taking advantage of.
Outside of maximizing your job’s value, try thinking like an entrepreneur to find new ways to make or save money. That means being on the lookout for problems that you could solve for people at a profit, as well as unique ways that you could cut your spending even farther without compromising your lifestyle. Most people float through life without thinking creatively, and this is one thing that keeps them poor. You can build a small empire for yourself rather quickly just by finding ways to serve people at a profit.
Even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, thinking creatively and constructively is an important part of becoming a responsible adult.
No discussion on becoming a responsible adult would be complete without talking about emotional maturity. Too many people go through life reacting like children to everything that goes wrong. Becoming a responsible adult means accepting that bad things happen sometimes, and holding on to things that truly matter. In this last section on becoming a responsible adult, we’ll share one of the most important ways you can show emotional maturity.
Value Things That Really Matter
Part of growing older means recognizing what things are truly important, and what are just distractions. As they near the end of life, people tend to realize that family and true friends are the most important aspects of living. Unfortunately, this realization often comes after decades of ignoring relationships in favor of money and pleasure.
You don’t have to wait until you’re old to recognize the importance of family and relationships. If you’re wise, you can start prioritizing these important things right now.
According to 88% of families, a weekly game night would make them happier than a new big-screen TV. Most people know that relationships matter, but only a select few will truly prioritize the healthy relationships in their lives. You can become a truly exceptional person just by putting family and good friends first.
From getting services at an orthodontic practice to practicing emotional maturity, this is some of the most important advice you can remember for being a responsible adult. Between taking good care of yourself and contributing generously to others, both financially and emotionally, soon no one will have any doubt that you’re a mature and responsible person.