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How To Be An Adult

March 2017Words by Mr Alfred Tong

Illustration by Mr Giordano Poloni

The dictionary definition of an “adult” is an organism or person who has grown to full size and strength. Happily, this will include a lot of MR PORTER readers. Well done, us.

But how many of us can say that we are adults in the wider, more practical sense of the word? How many of us manage our finances in a sensible manner – ie, save for pensions and emergencies (and not just blow it all on, ahem, clothes)? Or know how to change a car tyre? The novelty of these skills means “adult” is now jokily used as a verb. Doing your own taxes, for example, means you’re “adulting”.

So lacking are these skills among young adults that The Adulting School, which teaches basic life skills, opened in Portland, Oregon, to great success last year. “My co-founder Rachel Weinstein was working as a therapist and realised that a lot of young adults coming into her practice were missing life skills, especially around household chores and budgeting, which was causing them to feel stressed out and isolated,” says co-founder of The Adulting School, Ms Katie Brunelle. In short, not knowing how to “adult” causes problems (messy house, bad health, bankruptcy), which in turn make you miserable.