Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rules of Adulthood

I recently got the fantastic audio edition of Gretchen Rubin's magnificent book The Happiness Project. I normally would shy away from such apparently hokey, punchy, trendy self-helpish nonfiction, or more honestly, would read it but pretend I hadn't. However, I recently learned that even my super-intelligent, discerning sister read and enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, and was thus encouraged to do something which Rubin ends up endorsing in her book: I accepted what I like, and liked it without restraint. I like pop non-fiction aimed at helping people form plans to improve their lives. I like walking around DC listening to my iPod on Saturday mornings. I like reading spiritual books in coffee shops in a variety of DC neighborhoods. I recently combined these myriad "likes," and listened to The Happiness Project while walking several miles one Saturday on my way to coffeeshop-hop my way through C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain.
The Happiness Project describes Gretchen Rubin's realization that she was not fully enjoying the fantastic life she has found herself in, and her subsequent attempts to become more mindful, kinder, more patient, and better prepared to be resilient in the inevitable hard times we all will face in our lives. One of the planning phases of her project included making a list of "Rules of Adulthood," or things she'd learned as a grown up that shouldn't have taken her so darn long to understand. Inspired, I'm making my own list of "Rules of Adulthood" and asking for yours. Since I've got a little over two months left before I turn 25 (gulp), I'm hoping/assuming this is a work in progress, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I have learned since I've been "on my own" (see rule #4).

Erica's Rules of Adulthood
1. Exercising will always make you feel better than not exercising.
2. Sick days should really only be used when you are sick. Otherwise, it's not worth it.
3. Pee when you have to, as soon as possible.
4. You're never really "on your own." Ask for help, and be honest about your struggles. Your family loves you and wants to help.
5. Complaining is usually not worth it, unless you're proposing a plan for change.
6. Spending a half hour on your appearance in the morning is worth how it makes you feel for the rest of the day.
7. Friendships don't stay friendships on their own.
8. Always call people back
9. It's important to be really good at apologies.
10. You don't need a lot of clothes if you have nice clothes.
11. A good bra is indispensable.
12. You may regret going out drinking, you will never regret not going out drinking.
13. Let your actions show how kind/sorry/trustworthy you are, not just your words
14. Don't have more than three drinks in public in one night.
15. Saving money is very important.
16. It's never too late to fix something you did wrong.
17. Eating healthy, fresh food is worth the extra effort. Eating junky food is not worth how it makes you feel.

What are your rules of adulthood?


  1. it's funny you mention being embarrassed about what you like - i was describing music i like to a friend and i realized how silly guilty pleasures are. especially if the person you're talking to wouldn't feel guilty about it.

    to contrast, if you disagree with some aspect of something (say upper class white ladies turning bali into a tourist trap for other upper class folks after 'eat, pray, love,) but nevertheless enjoyed reading it, i no longer see issue with that conflict of opinions. we like what we like.

    my rules;
    don't let work win
    be friendly as much as you can
    stay hydrated
    avoid activist burnout by socializing hard at night
    avoid social burnout by being active and productive during the day
    don't be comfortable all the time

  2. Thanks for sharing! And I agree with your issue you take with EPL, and there was a really great article in Bitch a while back describing just that. I also don't like the faux-empowering mandate that women be able to afford to take a year off to travel around the world in order to find themselves. But reading about it, that's something I can swing.

    Come visit me!

  3. I like rules! I admit it. There, I said it.

    I really liked your rules number 7 and 14.
    Here are a few I have laid out for myself...

    1. Be kind to everybody. No exceptions.
    2. Think before you speak.
    3. Greet people when you enter a room, and say goodbye when you leave. And if there are people there you don't know, introduce yourself.
    4. Wash your face every night.
    5. Cherish the life you have because it is awesome!

  4. I'm not going to lie, I think the ones that I agreed with the most are
    3. Pee as soon as possible when you have to (which I don't do regularly and should, as bizarre and perhaps tmi as that sounds,
    6. spend that extra 1/2 hour on your appearance (which I don't do) and
    8. always call people back (also guilty of not doing)

    It's interesting that the ones I agree with the most are perhaps the ones that I fail most often at...