7 life skills everyone should learn and 13 books that teach themGet the Full StorySpencer Platt Getty ImagesTake it from a former Stanford dean who's dealt with more than her fair share of bright-but-bumbling 20-somethings: Just reaching a particular birthday does not make you an adult.
"I was seeing more and more students who seemed less and less capable of doing the stuff of life. They were incredibly accomplished in the transcript and GPA sense but less with their own selves, evidenced by how frequently they communicated with a parent," Julie Lythcott-Haims told the L.A. Times.
That might be news to some overprotective parents, but it's probably blindingly obvious to lots of 20-somethings who have recently smacked into the reality that, thanks to their loving but sheltered upbringings, they're woefully underprepared for adulthood. So what should you do if you've realized you're far from having this whole adulting thing down pat?
Read, suggest a bunch of folks who have recently been in your shoes. While there's sometimes no substitute for lived experience, there are also plenty of books that can save you a whole lot of heartache by teaching you basic skills that lots of young people end up learning way later than they should. Here are a few suggestions from newly minted adults who swear these books helped them leave adolescence behind.Amazon
1. How not to have a perpetual quarter-life crisis
In theory, your 20s should be a blast--you're young, free, and experimenting with life--but ask anyone currently experiencing or recently through that decade and they'll correct your misapprehension. Not knowing your place in the world can be super stressful.
Bustle's Alex Weiss offers a couple of books that can help you start to see a stabler future through the fog of your perpetual quarter-life crisis. The first is "20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-Life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction"Amazon by Christine Hassler.
"If you're in need of some reassurance because you're completely lost and confused in life right now like me , then this book is for you," she writes. "Hassler will introduce you to the 'Twenties Triangle,' which is made up of three questions: Who am I? What do I want? How do I get it? She also includes journal exercises to help you write out, and eventually solve, big issues you might be facing." Presumably, guys will find something of use in the book too.
Or pick up "Don't Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething's Mostly Failed Attempts at Adulthood"Amazon by Alida Nugent. "Like so many new college graduates, Alida Nugent had a degree not getting her anywhere and tons of debt, which forced her to move back in with her parents. This gritty collection of essays on the current 20-something generation is critical in the funniest of ways. I couldn't put it down," raves Weiss.
2. How to eat like an adult
You move out and then, bam! All of a sudden, nutritious, tasty food stops magically appearing in your fridge or on your plate. This is a bummer, but the solution is obvious if not exactly dead simple — learn to cook. I totally sympathize with this one. I finally learned to cook after college because I just couldn't stand one more meal of instant rice and beans or spaghetti.
What you need isn't a fancy cookbook, but a simple straightforward guide to the basics. "How to Cook EverythingAmazon" by Mark Bittman does what it says on the tin," notes Book Riot's Raych Krueger.
If you're at the subsisting-entirely-on-ramen level of cooking amateurism, then Krueger further recommends "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen"Amazon by Nancy Mills. For slightly more advanced advice that won't skyrocket your grocery bill, she suggests "The Working Class Foodies Cookbook" by Rebecca LandoAmazon.
3. How not to be broke
Coasting to the end of the month with 7.44 cents to your name is all sorts of no fun. Even if you have a less-than-impressive salary at this stage of life, it's preventable. And you don't have to grit your teeth through tedious personal finance tomes to improve the situation.
"'I Will Teach You to Be Rich'Amazon by Ramit Sethi is readable and comprehensive and smart and not scary," Krueger assures leery 20-somethings. Hassler's pick on this subject is "Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By"Amazon by Cary Siegel. Siegel "turns money talk into an understandable and easy topic," she writes.
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