Science, math, and English aside, there are very few non-academic skills that years of institutionalised education teaches you. Sure, you can cobble together some meat and veggies and bubble a pot, maybe pay your phone bills once in a while, and remember to fill gas in your car before the tank reaches empty. But aside from that markedly low bottom line, how well do you adult? If the jury’s still out on that, you probably need this refresher list in Life 101, featuring a few mainstays, some oddballs, and one very important lesson.
1. Changing a tire
A seemingly tedious task that boils down to a few simple turns of a jack, changing a tire is as much a necessity these days as it is a valuable life skill. No one wants to be stuck driving around on a busted tire, hobbling your way to a repair store only to find its gates shut. Yes, auto shops are a dime a dozen but they’re not going to be there on that sunny Saturday morning ride to Maracas. Instead, save yourself the hassle – and give your car rims a lifeline – and learn to change a tire. If you’re hesitant to ask someone to teach you, just do a quick Youtube search and follow along, like you would any makeup tutorial.
2. Using keyboard shortcuts
This one makes the list for the simple reason that life’s too short to right-click everything. If we can pick a date with a swipe right, we can definitely learn a few keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl + C, X, V, B, I and U are standard issue combos that everyone should know.
3. Managing Money
Making money is just half the battle. The real test of mettle is how well you manage it. Budgeting, investing, saving for retirement, and life/car/home insurance are all financial concepts that you should be well-versed in. It’s never too early to start figuring out just where your money’s going and how to best make it work for you. If you share your accounts with a significant other, it helps to sit down and create short and long-term financial plans that both of you can agree on. If you’re tightening your purse strings, remember to still set aside a small portion of your income for a few luxury creature comforts that keep you motivated and content!
4. CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre
Simple techniques that take all of a weekend morning to master, CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre can often be the difference between life and death. These are one of those life skills that require minimum effort for tremendous payout. Get certified today by calling the TT Red Cross Society or inquire about CPR classes at any local community centre.
Have you ever painstakingly imagined the perfect outfit for a night out, picked it out of your closet, and tried it on only to find a missing button, rip or hole? That gut-wrenching dismay is the reason everyone should know how to sew. A stitch in time saves you endless hours, and ensures that you’re well-equipped to deal with whatever sartorial crisis comes your way. If you’re starting with the basics, test out the slip stitch or running stitch first before moving on to the more complex blanket, whip, or backstitch.
6. Folding fitted sheets
In 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin that had a single, revolutionary crux: “If you want to change the world, start with making your bed.” To the uninitiated, this may seem like a stretch, but to the Admiral, making the bed was the first domino in a long day of tasks. Start with one and you have the momentum and inclination to continue with the second, third, and so on. Before you know it, that small, mundane deed has led to a year or lifetime of bigger, more substantial changes. Anyone who makes the bed however, knows that the biggest hurdle is not the act but rather what comes before or after it – folding a darned fitted sheet. No matter how many times you try, this flimsy piece of elasticated fabric somehow always ends up the victor. If there’s anything you take away from this list, it’s that this is the year you need to learn how to tame a fitted sheet, so jump on interwebs and Google your way out of it!
7. Accepting Being Wrong
It’s always funny in a wedding when someone makes the joke of “Mr. Right” and “Mrs. Always Right”, but the reality is that as a population, we aren’t quite fond of admitting our faults. It takes courage, a ton of self-awareness, and a disregard for how apologising might make you look. Understanding when you’re wrong and accepting responsibility takes years to master, and while it’s not a ‘technical’ skill, it’s definitely one worth pursuing.
8. Practicing Self-love and Compassion
This one’s a no-brainer. As women, we’re often programmed to be debilitatingly self-critical. Maybe we do it so that others can’t, or to keep ourselves in “check,” or to fit in with whatever the norm of the day is. And while some level of criticism is always necessary, it’s equally (if not more) important to practice self-love and compassion. This can come in many forms. It can mean a spa day with yourself or a weekend getaway, a quiet couple of hours reading a book or a high-octane gym session. Whatever your antidote, just make sure that at the end of it, you come out more accepting, loving, and kind to yourself.