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Growing up does not come with an instruction manual. We by no means are experts on how to “adult” or function in society, but we do feel like we’ve learned a lot over the past few years on how to meander through a little better. This is not a be-all, end-all list. This post is a roundup of life skills that as young adults, we feel have been necessary to have. I won’t go into the financial stuff here because I’ve written a post on that already, which you can read here. But for everything else, keep scrolling through this post.
Time management is a life skill that makes everyone’s lives more manageable and efficient. If you learn it early, you can get more done and have a better balance. We both figured out time management pretty early on, so planning and scheduling were just second nature. The things that have helped us with time management the most are our planners, reminders, alarms, and lists. Basically, we write everything down somewhere and keep organized.
Probably not a life skill you think about much, but having a basic sewing kit and knowing how to do some basic stitches can save you money. There have been times when we’ve found holes in our clothes and we just repair them instead of buying new clothes. It depends on where the repairs are needed because we’re not that skilled, but we can do enough to get by. It’s just something handy to know. I have everything sewing related from embroidery hoops to fabric for quilts. You don’t need to go that extreme, but a few things that are quite useful to have for sewing are:
- Thread in black, white, and other colors you typically wear
- Sewing machine (if you’re going to sew a lot. We don’t have one anymore because my last two had issues)
- Sewing scissors and fabric scissors
..Or at least learn how to fake social skills. I am one of the least social people. I am awkward and definitely give off the homeschooled kid vibe. I know plenty of homeschooled people who are perfectly social and friendly human beings. I am not one of them. My first words to Evan when we met were “I have to pee” and then I ran off. Still have no clue why he decided to keep seeing me. So, I am not good in the social skills department, but I can pretend I am enough to do things like make friends, get a job, and not have clients complain about me. If you’re a natural social butterfly like Evan, then this probably isn’t one of the life skills you need to work on much. If however, you are like me, you probably do need to work at it. A few of the things that helped me develop better social skills include the following:
I did some theatre as a kid, then started again after high school. It helped me come out of my shell a little more. That’s a pretty normal story for shy people who do theatre. As long as you put in effort, it will teach you something.
This one year in college I decided I would try to be more outgoing. I made more friends. I was well-liked in many of my classes, which felt weird because usually I would just be a wallflower. I kind of stopped trying to be friendly to everyone when I transferred schools because my classes were bigger and I didn’t care that much about making more friends. I already had a few close ones.
At UCI, I spoke up in class more than I would have on my own volition due to class participation grades and other incentives. I had one professor who would give out books every time a student gave a right answer. You better believe I was one of the most talkative people in that class. Books were an excellent motivation for a shy person to speak. I mean I know shy people reading all the time is a stereotype, but how many shy people don’t like reading? Ok back to social skills, so I was also more motivated to be social in college than I am now (especially with covid going on). I have my work friends who know I’m quiet and weird. Even my boss’s bosses know I’m not the greatest with social stuff and generally give me more research assignments rather than client communication or stuff like that, which I really appreciate. So I kind of just do the social thing when I have to, but otherwise I resort to being quiet.
If you’re always quiet though, it’s going to be hard to get through some parts of life just because of how American society focuses on the bubbly outgoing people more than the non-social ones.
By self-care, I mean beyond just what you see on social media. It’s not all face masks and bubble baths, although those are nice. Those aren’t skills you need to learn. However, self-care does take effort. There are different aspects within self-care that need consideration. Each of these could be classified as separate life skills, but they all seem to fall under self-care.
- Have to learn to say no to things in order to make sure you have enough energy and time for yourself. I’m a people pleaser, so this is hard for me. It’s still something I’m working on, but I think it’s really an important skill to gain early on so you aren’t living your life for others.
- Eating and drinking enough water seem like basic instincts, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who eats the right amount and stays hydrated every day. When I was in college, I skipped breakfast often. I’m better at eating enough now, but still working on hydration, which I discuss in this post.
- Sleeping enough is also important. If you don’t sleep enough, you don’t function as well during the day.
I could go on, but to save time and summarize, just valuing yourself and basic survival things is crucial.
We’re not amazing at cooking by any means, but we can stumble through recipes enough to eat well. It’s one of those life skills that are useful at any age. Even if you only have a few meals you know how to cook, that makes a difference. Cooking will save you money and keep you healthier. If you want easy recipes, check out our food posts. If you really don’t know how to cook, using an Instant Pot can help you. This is a link to the one we have: https://amzn.to/3qxAGSu. We usually mess up rice on the stove, but it’s always perfect with the Instant Pot. I kinda feel like it’s cheating sometimes, but since most of our meals are meal-preps or similar foods, it saves us time.