On my last birthday, I wrote one of my most read articles of 2018- 22 Life Lessons I learned as I Turned 22. So this time round I thought, I simply can’t add one more life lesson to it, right? Then what can I do to get more views on my blog (hehe kidding. Or am I?;) )
And that time, I was in a bank, acing adulting. THAT is when it hit me. Why not do an article on 23 life skills you should learn by the time you are 23? So here we are. My list in no particular order-
For obvious reasons. By the time you are 23, you should have a bank account and know the basics of banking. For some odd reason I do not see a lot of young people in banks. And no, they don’t have baking apps either. They let their parents handle all their affairs and frankly, my dear that is not good enough in today’s age.
Closely related to banking, by the time you are 23, you should have some sort investment plan. According to my parents, SIPs are a good investment option. This is where I invest some of my money too. But if you are open to higher risks, go for the stock market. But do have an investment plan. It makes sense to make money out of money.
3. Have an income source
Yes, 23 is not very old in today’s world. Most of us are in college/university. I, too, am in the final year of my University. But I still have various income sources. The internet is a huge marketplace and if you have a skill, sell it. You don’t want to keep spending your parents’ money all your life now, do you? I have been earning for a little over 3 years and counting now and it feels great. It gives you the sort of financial independence and satisfaction that won’t come from taking it from your parents.
You know this HAD to be on the list right? You’re 23, chances are you are already living away from home or you will soon. So this is one of the first skills you should know. And no, making Maggi is not cooking. You can’t order from Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats, FoodPanda etc every day. So you should know how to cook the basics because you never know when you might need it.
5. Doing laundry
This is a skill that I too am slowly learning. But it is so so important. You can’t go back home with dirty laundry every time, right? And what if you have a critical meeting and you can’t go home? As it is washing machines are becoming so simplified these days. It shouldn’t be too hard to put in detergent and push a few buttons, isn’t it?
6. Or doing other basic housework
What is your maid doesn’t show up and you have guests coming over? You should know how to do the dishes and mop the floor or vacuum. Everything that there is you need to know to run a household, you should know.
Even if it is a two wheeler, learn how to drive yourself around. You can’t Uber everywhere, honestly and it is too expensive. This cannot be stressed enough. Knowing how to drive gives you a certain kind of independence that having a chauffeur can never give to you.
8. A foreign language
No, I am not talking about English. But an actual foreign language that adds to your brand. It could be French, Spanish, Mandarin, German or anything else. But honestly, there are the most asked for. I myself can speak workable French and am planning to start with Spanish later this year. Certainly an added skill in this increasingly competitive and global world, compris? 😉
9. Learn to make a resume
Yes, I know what you are thinking- you already have one from school. But honestly, a CV that talks about your hobbies and interests is NOT a professional resume. Go over the internet, look at some templates, and play around with them. But ALWAYS have a draft resume ready because you never know when you are going to need it.
10. Public speaking skills
By the time you are 23, you are going to meet a lot of new people- both professionally and personally. Chances are that these are the people you are going to work with for a large part of your life. So it makes sense that you have good speaking skills. No, you certainly don’t have to be the center of attention but should be prolific enough to carry a conversation smoothly. You’d be surprised how many people get so nervous meeting new people that they can’t even put one sentence together.
Whether it is an interview, a boardroom meeting or even a roadside purchase, you should know how to negotiate. This is a life skill that comes in handy everywhere. And if you are not acing this, being an adult is going to be very challenging for you. Not to mention, extremely heavy on your pocket.
12. Learning to say ‘No’
I think this was also a part of my life lessons article. But as you grow as an individual, learning to say ‘no’ also takes a certain amount of skill. You need to be very tactful and diplomatic while refusing someone. You can’t simply shoot down your boss’ requests, so a specific degree of tact is needed.
13. Being quick on your feet
This is somewhat related to the previous point. In adult life you are faced with a lot of situations where you need to make instant decisions. And for that, you need to be quick on your feet or you might just end up bearing huge losses.
14. Learning to live on a shoestring budget
If you are staying away from home, spending like a king’s offspring is not an option. This is especially true if you are used to staying at home and having your parents pay for everything. Once you move out, a lot of people get carried away and spiral out of control. That is not a luxury you can afford.
15. Keeping your credit in check
A credit card is not your ticket to unabated spending. Spend only what you can repay. You don’t want your credit rating to take a hit later in life when you need to make huge financial decisions. A lot of people don’t realise it and pay the price for it later when they are under mountain of debts.
16. Always have a safety net
Whether you are earning or not, ALWAYS have some dough kept away for a rainy day. This amount should atleast be equal to two months’ of expenses. Though a lot of finance experts recommend it should be equal to a year’s expenses. But when you’re 23, you generally don’t have pressing obligations if you’re unmarried. So two months in that case is sufficient, in my opinion.
17. Invest in yourself
Now this is VERY important. As we age, we think of getting our own car, our house and so on. And having all of that is great. But you also need to invest in yourself. Today’s world is getting insanely competitive. One day you’re in, the other you’re out. So you need to keep reinventing yourself to keep yourself relevant. That can only happen if you invest in yourself by learning new skills and developing your personality.
18. Mental health
Adult life can be mentally exhausting. But in a bid to move forward, we forget to take care of ourselves. There is a lot you can do, walk with music playing, meditate, read leisurely and so on. Do anything, but do something. Anything that keeps you sane. We neglect something that is so important and later in life, don’t understand how to cope with it.
19. Time Management
This is that stage in our lives where we want to do everything. For instance, I am a student but I am also a blogger so I am constantly shooting for my social media, attending events, writing blogs. Further I work as a freelancer so I am working for them while maintaining a social and personal life. But don’t forget you also need 8 hours of sleep and work out. So how do you do that? Time management. And if you are not doing it correctly, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Whether familial or romantic, you need to learn how to deal with relationships. These are not the same when you grow up. Texting with your partner over whatsapp won’t be enough. Swiping right or left can only take you so far. Eventually, these require time and effort. And these are the relationships that will last a lifetime so you need to nurture them accordingly. Nobody has time for drama at this point and the sooner you learn that, the better.
Honestly, it bewilders me how some people my age still don’t feel comfortable around technology. I don’t mean playing PUB-G or applying a thousand filters on Instagram. People don’t know how to refine Google searches to look for a particular phrase and so many other basic things. And honestly, that’s just sad. You really need to learn and embrace the digital medium to stay one step ahead of the rest.
22. Differentiating the good from the bad
Adult life is all about making choices. Sure, sometimes our choices don’t go as planned. But at the outset, we need to know what is good for us and what is not. You have a big meeting due tomorrow but your friends want you to party. Sounds very basic reading this right now. But put in those shoes, a lot of people fall prey to such temptations. So you need to learn to make hard choices and stick to them.
23. Coping with failure
Finally, the most important one. Not a lot of people realise it, but coping with failure takes a certain degree of skill. Our school and college life doesn’t really prepare us for it. So many people do so well at school but lose their heads when the same doesn’t transpire in their ‘worldly’ life. So you need to know that adult life doesn’t work that way. The boss you think loves you, could be the one to fire you or humiliate you in front of your peers. But how do you bounce back from that? THAT is what you need to learn.
So these were the most important life skills to learn by the time you are 23. Do you agree with me? Or do you have any other skill in mind that you think I forgot? Let me know in the comments below!