Being an adult has never been easier. But GenX started a revolution as the first generation to acknowledge it was hard! Ok, so GenX acknowledged that it was hard, said they didn’t care, and closed the door again. However, every generation around them has been left to deal with the fallout from this growth of human understanding. COVID-19 has been an equalizer that has made people stand up and rethink what their core values are, and what it means to be an adult is part of that evaluation.
So, what skills could we be developing that will make adulting easier for us, and for future generations to come?
Learn An Instrument
If you’re thinking “what sort of hooey nonsense is this”, just hear me out. Firstly, an instrument is anything that can make a musical rhythm. Whether you are following an app that helps you learn to sing or are taking daily lessons on how to play saxophone, learning to make music allows for personal growth on several lessons.
One of the first things is that it helps you with grit, resilience, and tenacity. When you start learning anything you are pretty dreadful. The ability to stick with it, and get to a skill level of ‘merely bad’ takes a lot of determination. When you are learning an instrument (including your own singing voice), you face your fear of embarrassment and ridicule. You learn to take constructive criticism.
Another weird thing that happens while you are developing your technique and ability is that you develop a profound respect for those that have great skill. This gets translated into other areas as well. Appreciating the time and effort that it can take to master any skill makes people appreciate talent when they see it. Whether this is watching a world-class pianist performing or seeing your NBA team losing – being able to acknowledge the skill that has taken people to the top brings a deeper appreciation and understanding.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet you may read this as an unobtainable goal. However, investing in yourself isn’t about spending money at the beautician. Investing in yourself can mean money into education, or it can mean time spent.
Your teenage years may have been spent navel-gazing and trying to understand the deeper meaning of the world, you may even think you have a pretty good handle on who you are. But without checking in regularly are you sure that who you were at 20 is who you still want to be at 30? We all grow, discover new passions and new interests.
By taking the time to invest time into developing a better understanding of where you want to be, and making sure that you have a clear path to achievement, you will find the changing goalposts of adulthood easier to reach.
Easier said than done! But being able to take just 5 minutes every day to actively focus on not thinking helps to recharge your mind and spirit. There are numerous study’s, books, and personal accounts of how meditation decreases stress levels. It can also better prepare people to cope with anxiety. A 2019 pilot-study from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University showed a significant reduction in stress levels with students following a daily guided meditation practice for eight weeks. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07448481.2019.1590371
Anyone who has tried mediation before may have been sitting in silence or listening to a bell. While part of meditation is learning to bring your mind back into the now, for most of us this is an incredibly hard task. And something that feels too hard simply does not happen.
So, instead of traditional meditation techniques, try a guided meditation. There are numerous apps, youtube videos, and websites that offer free guided meditations. Do not get lost in trying to pick the ‘right’ one. Click the third search result and go with that one. There are guided meditations that are literally five minutes and designed to help you recharge your brain at work. If you can’t get away with closing your eyes at your desk, take five minutes in the loo!
Yes, multitasking is another way of saying “doing two things badly”. However, it is also an excellent way to find pleasure in otherwise monotonous jobs. If you loathe vacuuming, making your bed, folding laundry this can make the job go smoother. Firstly, announce that you are not to be interrupted. Then, download an audiobook or podcast. Chose something that will help you grow as a person. Either something that looks at an easier of personal growth you struggle with (perhaps yelling, communication, motivation, etc) or an area you know nothing about. Embrace learning as an experience of mind-opening rather than a burden. Because we often find it difficult to take the time to do things we feel we “should”, or that are interesting but irrelevant, these often get disregarded. By combining a task that is necessary but that you dislike, with something that improves your overall world view, you have less guilt about expanding your mind.
- Learn an instrument: Download the “Learn to Sing – Sing Sharp” app, and play around with the vocal range and warmups. This will not teach you to sing, but it will help you work out where you could start learning. It’s also free (for the vocal range training), and you already have the instrument
- Invest in yourself: While there IS an app for everything, this just requires you to write down ten things on a piece of paper. Write down ten things you currently enjoy about your life. Write down ten things you want to do next week. Write down ten things you want to do next month. Write down ten things you want to do next year. This isn’t as easy as it sounds! But keep coming back to this, and really fine-tune what it is that you want out of life. Revisit it each week to see if your vision has changed – but do not worry if you haven’t “achieved” your ten things. This is just a thought exercise to help you work out where you want to be. If you consistently put down “walk to work every day” and you consistently drive, spend some time thinking about “why”. Not making excuses, but the real reason why.
- Stop Thinking: Download the “Calm” app and enjoy the free 7-day trial of guided meditations. They have a great range to give you a good idea of what style works for you.
- Multitask Better: Are you a member of your public library? If not, why not! Did you know that most public libraries now have digital assets? This means you can download the latest audiobooks right to your phone, whenever you want. Free. You can probably enroll online too, so do that now as well.