Basic life skills every adult should know

Twenty-somethings can run amok all they like, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

For anyone over 30 though, there are some things you’re simply expected to know.

They’re not necessarily things you’ll be congratulated for, they’re more the things you probably should have figured out.

For some folks, learning to tie shoe laces and doing without nappies/diapers is the pinnacle of personal development.

To these people we say, “try harder”.

Here are some of the things that may raise eyebrows or elicit sighs and sniggers if you can’t do them.

Cook a few basic meals

Ideally, we’re talking about dinner-type dishes. And no, being able to do several versions of scrambled eggs is not an option.

We should be able to cook at the very least, some kind of pasta with some effort behind the sauce. Think creamy/carbonara, meaty tomato, that kind of thing.

Best of all – pasta’s pretty hard to stuff up and pretty easy to make yummy. Hint: don’t hold back on the cheese.

Also being able to whip up something to go with rice is a solid option. A stir fry has it all. Meat (optional), veggies and whatever sauce takes your fancy.

Curries and stews are also very simple to prepare and very substantial.

As for scrambled eggs for breakfast – we have no problems with that. For breakfast.

Driving in a new city

There comes a time when most of us have to do this, like it or not.

Unless you’re willing to let someone else do it for you, which is exactly not what we’re advocating here.

First thing is to minimize any distractions. Music off, everyone shut up.

Yes, the road signs and streets may be new. Yes, you’ll most definitely lose your way at some stage. But it’s simply a matter of being able to change lanes safely and quickly, anticipate anything and being able to spot a good place to pull over if need be.

Look at it as an adventure. And if you start blasting the horn at someone in their own city, then you’re really starting to shine!

Use basic technology

By basic, we mean smart phones and software programs. If someone claims to have no use for technology, they’re kidding themselves.

It’s here to stay so why not be able to look yourself in the mirror and at least master these functions.

  • make a Word document and then attach it to an email. Believe it or not, many cannot do this.
  • convert this same Word document into a PDF format. There are plenty of sites online where you can do this for free and it takes all of about 25 seconds.
  • upload pictures or videos from your phone to a website or phone app.
  • edit such pictures or videos – trimming, adding text, you get the idea.

If you wouldn’t have a clue – don’t worry. Ask/bribe the nearest 12 year old.

Make small talk

A massively underrated social skill and one that quite frankly, many people suck at. Small talk.

Why? Because it can suck. With people we genuinely want to get to know or already know, idle chit chat is painless. Questions flow naturally, plenty of conversational give-and-take.

However…if you’ve never met the person before or if it’s instantly clear you both have zero in common, this is a grind.

No matter who you are, the time will come .

The key is to just hammer someone with questions. Hopefully they’ll ask some of their own and you’ll be out of jail.

Classic safe questions include, “So what do you get up to in your downtime?” or “Got anything planned coming up in the future?” They might sound cheesy, but they’re not offensive and are guaranteed to elicit lengthy answers.

These avoid asking about jobs, family and health which are all topics it’s better to volunteer information about rather than soliciting it.

Of course, some will just grunt something uninterestedly.

In which case, they’re losers and you don’t need them.

Basic fitness

This is less to do with being a functional member of society and more to do with simply functioning.

However it’s nice not to be excluded from a walk or swim somewhere, simply because you physically can’t.

Many of us love the ocean but detest swimming. That’s more than fair. But at least make sure you can breaststroke or doggy paddle for 50 meters.

Not all of us can run, either. Shonky knees and/or ankles, aching joints, etc. But every human should be able to walk for at least 30 minutes without complaining.

Finally, know how to pick something up from the floor without doing your back in.

Bend the knees, keep a straight back, eyes front, chest out. 1,2,3 – up we go!

You’re a machine.

Don’t be too hard on yourself though, there’s always time to learn. Until then, steer clear of these situations, just like a normal adult would.



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