Andy Boyle's Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You is a useful and funny guide for navigating the weird world of adulthood. Full of advice ranging from empathy to "What Would Tom Hanks Do?" Boyle's guide is great gift for graduates. Boyle share some tips here.
I know: Yet another listicle with advice geared toward graduates. Written by someone old enough to have once rented VHS tapes. How lame, right? (Don’t answer that.)
This is like a cheat sheet to level up in adulthood. Thankfully for you, I was an idiot throughout my 20s. But after you read this list, you won’t have to be. You’re welcome.
1. Whenever you have the opportunity, use the bathroom
If you ever think to yourself, “Hm, I wonder if I should go pee?” The answer will always be “yes” 90 seconds later. Which is exactly the amount of time for you to walk far enough away from a bathroom and become stubbornly committed to your choice. And now you’ll never find a toilet again.
Life is also 78 percent meetings. And you know what you’re going to need to do exactly six minutes into a meeting? Pee. Always go pee before a meeting. If you pretend you need to “leave” for a “phone call,” everyone knows you’re actually going to pee.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you find someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, ask for their advice. They’ll probably get quiet, look around, and whisper, “I don’t know what I’m doing, did the Imposter Police send you?” And then usually they’ll explain how they bumbled their way toward figuring things out.
That’s all any of us are doing. Making mistakes, getting better, and then trying to not make those mistakes again. Sometimes people continue to make mistakes. These people are called “elected officials.” So if someone does something cool, email them, tell them it was awesome, and then ask a few questions. The worst thing they can do is not answer. Or write about you in their diary, which will someday be in a museum. And poof, now you’re famous!
3. If something sucks, you don’t have to keep doing it
If you’re sick of your chosen profession after a few years, reconsider and try something new. Don’t wait 40 years and retire feeling miserable. Instead, try a new career path and see what happens.
Same thing goes with hobbies. Or friendships. Or relationships. Just because you’ve sunk a lot of time into something doesn’t mean you have to keep going. If that were the case, I would still be trying to find success with my high school ska band.
4. Eat more green things
I didn’t know that eating fast food for every meal was an altogether poor choice until I was in my late 20s. Nobody told me! (Everyone told me.) Once I started eating more vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Popeye’s favorite steroid supplement, spinach, I began to not only have more energy, but also feel better, too.
Eating veggies also helps keep you feeling full, so it can stop you from eating extra snacks between meals. It’s almost as if nature decided to tell us what we should eat more of by making the majority of the planet green. (Pro-tip: Don’t eat random wild plants.)
5. You don’t always plan your career
Careers are what happen on the way toward paying your rent. You end up where you do through hard work but, more likely, a lot of luck. I thought I was going to be an investigative reporter, or maybe just an inquisitive one. Then I became an award-winning web developer. Now look at me, one of the world’s premiere underwear models. You just can’t plan where you go, you know?
People who write memoirs about how they’re amazingly talented at business and jobs and life always act like they had everything planned and knew how to succeed all along. That is a lie meant to sell more books and get them more speaking gigs. (By the way, buy my book, and yes, I would love to speak at your event.) So don’t worry, you’re doing great. It’s okay to take detours. Who knows what might happen? (Underwear modeling, that’s what!)
6. Call your parents more
Whoever raised you probably likes hearing from you. Give them a call. Sometimes you’ll learn “wisdom,” which is old people talk for “I made that mistake already, here’s what you should do instead, sweetie.”
But more importantly, they’re not going to be around forever. I don’t think you’ll ever regret giving your parents an extra call. For instance, my parents always harped on the need for having clean underwear, in case you got in an accident. And when you’re an international underwear model, the chances of accidents are greatly heightened.
7. Your only competition? Yourself.
Nobody else lives your life, just you. Unless you’re a ghost who’s taken over a person’s body. If so, whoa, please don’t come looking for me. (That underwear model thing was a lie. I’m actually just a hat model.) Regardless, when you see other people succeed and do awesome things, you’ll get jealous. But their success doesn’t diminish you.
They didn’t eat any part of the pie you were trying to get. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself from six months ago. Are you doing better? Stay on track. Are you not? Make some changes and check in six months from now.
8. You’re only in control of your own actions
So much of life is in the hands of other people. Whether or not you get the job, if someone says yes to a date, if your newly-released book that’s gotten great reviews sells a million copies. All you can do is control how you respond to those things and nothing more.
You can’t make everyone like you. But you can try to be kind and empathetic toward everyone. When life doesn’t go your way, be happy that you’re in charge of yourself. Then be so nice that it’ll make people want to puke.
9. Help more
If you’re at work and someone has encountered a problem, say these magical words: “How can I help?” Nobody will ever be mad. Mention in your emails to everyone if there’s anything you can do to help someone, they should just ask. The more you open yourself up to helping others, the better the world treats you in return.
It’s nice to be helpful. It’ll make you feel awesome, almost as if you had ice cream handed to you by a mysterious, hat-wearing underwear model. Kindness makes the world a better place. And as an adult, that’s your job now. Go forth and make the world less sucky. I believe in you.
10. Nobody knows anything
We’re all just making this up, like a young adult novelist thinking of a new version of a dystopian America. Some of us just do it more confidently than others. If you ever feel like you’re doing terribly because everyone else around you is rocking it, don’t worry. They’re improvising everything. They just don’t want you to know.
Case in point: I have no clue how to write a piece on 10 Life Tips for Grads, but here I am, sitting on my couch in just my underwear and t-shirt, Winnie-the-Poohing it up. And now you’re reading it. Because I did it with confidence. And no pants.