Is there anything more millennial than this taking a noun and making it a hip-sounding new “-ing” gerund trend? Googling, texting, tweeting, Facebooking. That’s about all I thought Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown was going to be, a novel-length collection of snide millennial hipsterness. I was…wrong?
My feelings are actually mixed on this. On the one hand, what can someone 10 years younger than I am teach me about being an adult? On the other hand, what does someone 10 years younger than me know about being an adult? I’ve been doing it for a decade longer, and was doing it for nearly a decade before that, and I still have no idea. I think I partially picked the book up because I was hoping for some helpful hints. I did get a few.
For example, I really liked Brown’s “Accept that some people are just jerks” pointer #119. You can waste a lot of time and energy wishing this weren’t so, but the sooner you embrace it, the sooner you can move on to focusing your precious time and energy on things that actually matter.
Similarly, and this one has always been really hard for me, “Accept that some people won’t like you, and never will,” Brown’s point #122. I have had other struggles in my life, but self esteem has never been one of them. I have an intensely high opinion of myself, bordering on vain, and I’ve always just kind of assumed that someone who did not like me had something clinically wrong with them. I still think that, actually. I guess I haven’t learned anything.
There were other great pieces of advice. She had some great, thoughtful, wiser-than-her-years insights on romance, much I wish I would have known when I was at that age and stage.
And her advice on toxic relatives was spot on. Clearly coming from a place of experience. Similarly, her thoughts on money and job stuff were very useful.
And I really loved her “times were tough” concept. I love those inside jokes and traditions with friends. Talking about hard times is what friends are for.
Other advice I found myself thinking, “my gosh, how did you survive through college?” If you don’t know even the basics about cooking or cleaning or maintenance, how did you make it into adulthood? I guess I was just lucky that I learned to cook and clean at a young age, though I did have several roommates in college who had clearly never learned.
She included a male readers disclaimer in the introduction, and I think that made me more wary than I needed to be. Almost all of the advice applied to men and women equally. Brown has a website that included these and other pointers. It was light and fun and also helpful. I would recommend this book, especially to kids in college or those just entering the “real word” (young adults entering the work force/getting out on their own).
I will be looking for Brown’s other writing. She seems funny and full of life and like she’d be fun to hang out with. Let me know if you read it and what you think. Tell the dunce academy what your favorite “adulting” pointers are.