Have you joined the KonMari movement yet?

I am now one of “those” people who Origami’s their undies and who goes around patting their belongings looking for a spark of joy (or at least not rampant disgust).

Next season’s fashions at our local Vinnies boutique will single-handedly be coming from my now clutter-free, Instagram worthy wardrobe.

I am now onto the hardest bit of the clutter clearing process: Paper.

In sorting through my paper mountain, I discovered a handwritten notebook, where over the years I had been studiously recording my thoughts on how to adult.

These thoughts were jotted as random dot points after particular life lessons.  I think I wanted to make sure to tell my kids these particular lessons as they grew up, and this was my way of remembering.

However, somewhere in the past decade, I had forgotten about my notebook and my random thoughts – until now.

Looking back over my thoughts, in many cases I couldn’t recall the incident that triggered that particular dot point to join the list, but the words were there, nonetheless. Sort of like a sepia-toned photo of ancient relatives that you can’t name in a family photo album.

Rather than simply chuckle, and hit the shredder, here are my random thoughts for digital posterity and in case any fellow adults want a few pointers for this crazy thing called life.

General Advice

  • Clean up your messes. Each mess takes energy and reflects something or some emotion that you are avoiding. Deal with it, and the messes will clear up as well. You can start with the mess or start with the avoidance. Either way works.
  • Never send angry emails, righteous emails or ones where you have been egged on to say something. It never ends well.
  • The only silly question is the one that isn’t asked. Even if you are nervous, ask that silly question.
  • Look at actions, not words. Trust what you see someone do and doubt what you hear them say that they did.
  • If you need to know how to do something, no matter how random, YouTube it. Someone is guaranteed to have done it and filmed it.
  • Find your ethics and values lines in the sand, and don’t cross them ever – no matter the situation.
  • The thing you miss most about people who die aren’t the big moments. It’s the quiet cups of tea on the back porch and the gentle telling of stories.
  • The moments you remember as the happiest in your life are just mental snapshots. Laughing in the car with the kids over something silly. Standing in front of an iconic landmark you have wanted to see since you were a child. Happiness is a snapshot and not a film.
  • No one will love you as much as a stray dog who has found his forever home. If you want to see what unconditional love looks like, gaze into the eyes of your dog.
  • No leak or crack in a house can be ignored. It means something is shifting. Fix it before little niggles become big headaches.
  • Talk about yourself or others will do it for you.
  • Always have one more backup than you think you need.
  • Don’t wear a badge of not knowing something. If you don’t know – find out. There’s no excuse for willful ignorance.
  • Life isn’t meant to be fair. It is just what it is.
  • Consistency pays dividends.
  • You are never lost. You are just on an adventure.
  • Everyone is doing the best that they can. You too!
  • There’s no mistakes. Only learning.
  • Avoidance only makes it easier for yourself and not others. It is the unspoken that derails.
  • The people around you reflect what you believe about yourself.
  • Everything in life is a change management process. Learn how to manage and drive change rather than simply being the one being changed.
  • Systematise things that are hard. If you do it more than twice, it needs a system.
  • We have second drafts in writing but expect our conversation to be perfect first time around.
  • Everyone has a unique story to tell if you listen hard enough.
  • Multitasking is a horrible lie. Do one thing at a time until completion.
  • Statistics are only useful for the stories that they tell.
  • Stop and look at the big picture regularly or you will strain yourself focusing too long on the details.
  • If someone can’t see it, they can’t buy it.
  • The ends never justify the means. The process is as important as the outcome.
  • When you lose hope, borrow some from a friend.
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing. Sometimes well. Sometimes just getting it over with.
  • Don’t wait for perfection before starting something.
  • Wishing doesn’t make it work. Action does.
  • Success comes at the edge of your comfort zone. Push out, or you will shrink in.
  • Teaching is about igniting passion and not reciting facts.
  • Service, not servitude.
  • Give people a big enough “why” and you will move mountains.
  • Having people like what you do doesn’t make you inherently good or important. You matter no matter what.
  • Your mind is illogically logical. Once you have laid down a neural track in your brain, it will repeat unless you consciously change tack.
  • Momentum is hard. Cynicism is rife. Do it anyway.

What to Buy

  • Always invest in quality car tyres and shock absorbers. They are the only things that stop you in case of an accident. Every metre faster that you stop saves lives.
  • Buy the biggest, most comfortable bed that you can afford and that can fit into your space. Skimp on other furniture, but never your bed. No one ever complained that they had too much space to sleep in. Life is hard enough as it is, so go for soft comfort every night to balance out.
  • Instant coffee never tastes as good as barista coffee no matter what the ads tell you. Buy a coffee machine.

Work

  • You get sacked for HOW you do things and not WHAT you do.
  • Life’s too short to stay in jobs where each day feels like swallowing razor blades.
  • People prefer nice to competent. Remember that if your personality is a bit on the prickly side.
  • Write like you talk. If you wouldn’t say it out loud that way, don’t write it that way.
  • Each person has unique skills that can be applied in different ways in life. Find the match between your skills and your joy.
  • When someone asks in a job interview, “Can you do this?” Answer with what you do, how you do it, how you know you are good at it and what you have learned from it.
  • Leaders create businesses in their own image. A leader’s strength is their business’s strength. A leader’s weakness will be the same weakness in their business.

Parenting & Health

  • Trust your gut when it comes to you or your children’s health. If your gut tells you something isn’t right, get a second opinion and don’t take no for an answer.
  • Record yourself telling stories to your grandkids. Photos of you only go so far. Record your stories, your jokes and your laughter. That’s what they need to hear and see after you have gone.
  • When life gets too much, soak in a hot bath with a fabulous bath bomb. There’s something about warmth and water combined that soothes.
  • You don’t have to be a perfect mother. Just good enough to let your kids know that you love them no matter what.

So, there you go. What are some of your lessons you would like to share on how to adult?

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle is the Chief Web Wizard at Heart Harmony Communications. A self-confessed multipotentialite, Ingrid shamelessly blends her passions of human resources, psychology, web design and copywriting. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.
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General How To Adult: The Ingrid Edition