Life Skills for Young Adults

A young adult on Reddit asked about life skills. He had moved from home where his parents did every single thing for him. Following is what I wrote for him, and then edited to fit Reddit word count. This information may help some young people.

A young adult on Reddit asked about life skills. He had moved from home where his parents did every single thing for him. Following is what I wrote for him, and then edited to fit Reddit word count. This information may help some young people.

The basis of all life skills is to be organized. Life skills can be divided into the following eight major categories. Each category is extensive. Concentrating on specific categories are more necessary for a person during different periods of their lives. Reading is the best way to learn more about specific skills you are weak in.

Thus I am unable to recommend one specific book or website. Plus life is pretty complicated. Additionally, sometimes you simply do not know what you do not know so you must read and seek questions and answers. Thus reading books and engaging older people, including parents and other relatives, in conversations about life are invaluable.

Notice the linked web pages at the end. The first is a general introduction, and the others are more specific. The problem is if you don’t know the question you can’t look for an answer. Thus a broad reading of material is necessary. Don’t neglect your local library. Although the internet is amazing, so are books. (I don’t use Google for my searches, but DuckDuckGo. I simply typed in ‘life skills’.)

  1. Body – stay healthy and clean.
    This is accomplished with basic skills of daily movement (exercise), good hygiene, nightly eight hours of regularly scheduled sleep; and a nutritious diet which excludes caffeine, alcohol, sugar, junk food, and recreational drugs. A nutritious diet includes fruits and vegetables. Spicing vegetables makes them as exotic as junk food. Low on red meat, high on fish.

    The phrase ‘Everything in moderation’ should be updated to ‘Dangerous things in minimal to zero levels’. Dangerous things include red meat, sugar, alcohol, coffee, energy drinks, junk food.

    This may seem impossible, but if you develop eating habits while young, and just, once in a while, indulge in junk food – your good habits will stay with your for life. It won’t be difficult to be healthy. (Habits replace constant decision-making.)

    Young people’s bodies are so healthy that abusing them seem to have no immediate, apparent effect. This is false. Impaired thinking from drinking may cause serious decisions that destroy your life, such as accidents sex, fights. Lack of sleep causes problems with concentration and thus performing everyday tasks.

    Remember the ‘minimal to zero’ rule for drinking and drugs. It’s dangerous to become overwhelmed by these two and destroy your own life and those around you. On the other hand, total abstinence may be near-impossible.
  2. Home – clean and organized.
    Cleaning clothes and bedding weekly is an important habit (dishes daily). Organizing a routine is helpful. EVERYTHING needs to be cleaned. To my shock, using my microwave, I noticed the buildup of oils and stuff by the timer button.

    Keeping clutter to the minimal-zero level is helpful. Your eyes really do not like too much clutter. It stimulates parts of the brain unnecessarily, stealing energy from other functions.

    A home problem I had living in a foreign country was that my washing machine took an hour and a half to wash clothes. Another European friend advised simply put the washer on ‘Sports’ clothes to get a 30-minute wash. Even folding clothes, I learned at 19 how to fold jeans from a man I dated (one finger at the crotch, shake the jeans in the air while the other hand runs the length of the legs making them even; then lay flat and fold).
  3. Work – work and respect.
    Often people use work and the work environment as substitute families and homes. This can be dangerous. At work, do your work. Avoid gossip. Know that every job has a minimum of at least 25% unpleasantness. Learning to accept negativity in life (cooking your own nutritious meals, cleaning your home, working) means growing up. Once the negativity at work exceeds 25%, then it may be time to re-evaluate yourself, your own actions and reactions at work, your job, your career.

    At work, respect your employers and your co-workers and all people you come into contact during your day, including transit workers, cleaning people, cafeteria/restaurant workers, etc.

    Maintain your skills and update them with training.
  4. Social Skills – kindness and patience.
    Social skills are amazingly complex and difficult to learn, depending on your social and economic background. Each socio-economic class teaches different social skills that are often at odds with other classes. For example, being upper-lower class, I learned survival skills which helped me survive hitchhiking in the USA in the 1970s for nearly 10,000 miles – often alone. However, when confronted with middle-class college and work expectations, as well as dating, I was woefully inadequate. The upper classes use etiquette training sometimes to the point of being so polite as to divorce their feelings from reality. However, upper-class graciousness is something I admire and aspire to but realize I can never obtain.
  5. Financial Skills – awareness and debt-free.
    Living within one’s means is essential, along with saving – no matter how little you make. If you can’t buy something you desire NOW, save for it and buy it with cash. I learned this when I was young from another poor person who studied economics: he bought his first car with cash.

    Do your own income taxes, if they are not complex. My father forced me to do this when I was 16. I continue to do this throughout my life (No trust fund, no mortgage, no capitol gains, etc., so this was an easy task.)

    When young and poor, I learned to put money into labeled envelopes to control my budget: rent, food, electricity, water and etc., and play.

    Credit cards should be paid in full monthly. If you can’t do that, limit your credit card amount to $500 or less. Ignore card promotions to raise your limit. (I allowed my credit limit to extend to$10,000 – a ridiculous amount which I reached! Bankruptcy filing was too complex, so I left the country for ten years. Only seven years are necessary for the debt to be discharged. The company, however, kept inviting me to renew. I learned if I had renewed the card, the previously owed amount would be reactivated.)
  6. Dating Skills – honesty and kindness.
    Not everyone you date is someone you want to spend your life with or even a few months with. Thus self-honesty and honesty to the other person is crucial. Do you want a fling, a relationship, a friend, or a marital partner?

    Today’s problems with dating often seem to revolve around sex. Before birth control, courtship was the time future partners learned about each other’s personalities. When I was dating during the sexual revolution when all the rules were thrown out, the standard eventually evolved into: sex is expected/demanded/permitted on or after the third date. Maybe third month would be healthier.

    Since my sexual youth was so problematic, I can not offer any specific advice, so strongly suggest you gobble up at least five to ten books about sex and dating – books with varied points of view. For example, do you or do you not want children? Are you heterosexual or homosexual or neither? Certain realities about sex cannot be ignored, including sexual transmitted diseases, pregnancy, AIDS and more. Here is where self-honesty and kindness are essential. I strongly suggest a conversation about birth control before making love – seeing as birth control should be a mutually agreed upon choice.
  7. Religion – choose one and respect others.
    Most people are literally ‘born into’ their religion, as they are born into their own culture with its dominant religion. As you mature, examine your religious beliefs, influence upon your actions and life. Explore other religions. Raising children within a healthy religion is helpful. Religious differences are dangerous, but at their hearts, nearly all religions share the same moral values of respecting others, being kind, not stealing, etc. You might want to make your own ethics/moral values by taking what is good from all the religions you know, rather than following one religion. However, the community feeling and support from a good, healthy religious group can be a mainstream strength in a person’s life. By totally discarding religion nowadays, too many people become enslaved by cults.
  8. Death – accept and prepare.
    Different cultures have adapted various rules, attitudes, feelings and methods for dealing with death. Kubler-Ross’s book On Death & Dying, although first published years ago, retains its timeless truths. Know you will die so try to live a life you enjoy, admire, love and feel is worthwhile as much as you can.

    You might enjoy the cultural activities around death: In Taiwan, outdoor funeral processions included an open air stage with scantily dressed women dancing. In Arabian culture, death is not dwelled upon and is more accepted without emotional hysteria as in the West. In other cultures, open wailing and crying is the norm, while many cultures provide months or up to a year for the family to grieve. Thus, while alive, prepare for day each day by loving people and life as much as you can.
  9. Internet Resources

    What are Life Skills and Why Teach Them – https://www.britishcouncil.gr/en/life-skills/about/what-are-life-skills

    https://www.livingwellspendingless.com/48-life-skills-everyone-learn/

    Important Life Skills That Employers Value – https://www.thebalancecareers.com/life-skills-list-and-examples-4147222

    Ten Core Life Skills – https://www.skillsyouneed.com/rhubarb/core-life-skills.html

    When I don’t know how to do something, such as cook carrots, imagine my surprise the YouTube.com video said to boil with a little salt for 4-6 minutes. YouTube.com has many examples for those of us who lack many basic skills.

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