Book Review: Adulting – How To Become a Grown-up In 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up In 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown (See her blog here)

I give this book a 3/5 stars. It was a quick, easy read. The author’s tone is entertaining, and there are some nuggets of advice that are worth bookmarking. A lot of the steps are things that are obvious upon reading, but that you may never have listed before. It’s nice to have a reality-check reminder once in a while of how to take care of certain “adult” things.

Some helpful tidbits I earmarked (assume quotations unless there are [xyz]):

Adult isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. It’s the act of making correctly those small decisions that fill our day.

Step 6: Stop enjoying things ironically, just enjoy them.

Step 10: Be okay with being alone. … You, meanwhile, will be with yourself for the rest of your life, so you’d best learn to enjoy your own company.

If it’s making a galloping noise, it’s probably a horse, not a zebra. In other words, the simplest explanation is probably – not always, but probably – the correct one.

Step 17: Get used to giving more than you get. A natural transition, as we go from being kids to adults, is to go from being self-oriented to other-oriented. When we’re little, all this love flows to us, and none is expected back. That ratio has now changed, and if you don’t acknowledge it, you will not be a pleasant person to be around.

Step 27: Create a correspondence drawer.

Step 43: Every so often, bleach your sink, tub, and toilet.

Put smiley faces on your boxes [when moving]. It reminds you that you actually like your possessions, that they are not just hundreds of pounds of dog poop that you have to transport across state lines.

Step 72: Buy ‘The Joy of Cooking.’ 

Step 84: Do not fear the puff pastry. [Summary: put in fridge night before use, use a little flour, cut it up and put things in it, bake according to directions on box.]

Just because there is an idea bouncing around in your head does not mean it needs to be sent out into the universe.

Step 93: Do not RSVP ‘maybe.’ When someone asks you to do something, you have three options: Option A: Say yes. Option B: Say no. Option C: Say “Gosh, that sounds wonderful, but please let me check my schedule,” then get back to them within twenty-four hours with Option A or Option B.

Step 95: Learn how to make an appearance then bounce. [Summary: show up on time, hang out at least 30 minutes, chat with three different people, than say you cannot say – don’t qualify it with why not.]

You shouldn’t discuss something you feel intensely about, because your side of the conversation will probably sound like a lecture…interests are great to share; passions, people need to be careful about.

Step 116: Determine what you care about, then dedicate some of your time to it.

[Sign of a crazy person] Returning to a topic that you are not returning to, more than twice.

Step 130: Deal with line-cutters and their ilk as though they are sweet but dim people who need some gentle correction. … Your voice will express sympathy that they didn’t get this right the first time, but  optimism that with your guidance, they will manage.

Acid hurts the vessel that carries it more than any object it might be poured upon.

Step 169: Don’t verbally undermine yourself. … If you’re going to share your opinion, say it as though it were a declarative statement. Not a question? That you have? Floating around in your head? And you hope others will agree with? But if they don’t, that’s okay, too? Just say it. And if you really feel that unsure about it, then don’t waste that other person’s time with verbal waffling.

Don’t let the great be the enemy of good when it comes to saving. Something is infinitely better than nothing.

Step 218: Get comfortable with the idea of refinancing.

If the mere thought of checking on something (your finances, your health, a friendship) stresses you out, take it as proof positive that you need to check up on it sooner rather than later.

Step 243(a): Get a good steamer.

[Wash stains with cold water – hot water makes the stain set. Also – use hairspray to get it out.]

I navigate life by saying the super-direct, awkward thing we’re all thinking.

Step 296: Do well in your long-distance friendships. … Make sure you don’t go more than three months without talking on the phone.


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