This week at IMAGE, we got to talking about “adulting.” That is when you feel you should be able to do certain things as an adult, but you can’t. A video clip that went viral this week revealed some surprising statistics around the term, which essentially said that the millennial generation was failing in the basic life skills department. So, for example, 30% college students can’t boil an egg, 70% young people can’t sew a button, and people are ordering takeouts more than ever because they don’t have basic cooking skills.
I was shocked at the stats because it brought home how ‘basic’ my own life skills were; my sewing skills are dismal, I can scramble eggs (but have never boiled one), and a takeout menu is probably the reason I don’t starve when home alone. I’m smart and educated yet with microscopic practical life skills – I feel like tattooing ‘underachiever’ across my forehead. “But the internet will teach you life skills!” says the voice inside my head. Ah, yes. All hail the glorious advancement of our digital age where you can google any ‘how to’ video and feel at ease about your shortcomings. And strangely enough, this was echoed by some of the IMAGE team; those that couldn’t do things such as change a plug, tire or anything on the DIY scale said that yes, Google was there for this on a need-to-know basis if a more skilled real-life person wasn’t around. Most of the team could do the basics like cooking and sewing yet some of the more modern-day skills such as downloading music and all that jazz eluded them.
Is it merely down to a generational gap? Social Researcher Mark McCrindle says yes. “The problem we face is that our kids have amazing digital and academic skills, but those talents aren’t balanced out with domestic and life skills. Our children can build a magnificent world on Minecraft, but many have no clue how to build a real cubby house. They’re growing up with no knowledge of the traditional skills required to become self-sufficient adults,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
I changed my routine and something lifted; this tiny shift chased away my stuck-in-a-rut blues and kickstarted inspiration.
Perhaps it’s also down to the fact that post-recession more young people either moved back home or simply didn’t or couldn’t move out, so many are used to having a parent there to cover the basics.
But, there is a positive to all this. Any skills you don’t have, are never too late to learn. The remedy in the clip suggested more classes, home economics or cooking or knitting groups. By attending such a class, you gain a multitude; you can learn a new skill, broaden your horizons and meet new people all at once. I was forever saying that I’d like to widen my skill set and social circle and by this, I meant moaning because I didn’t do it, giving up and watching Netflix.
And yet when I went to one class, I felt elevated. Meeting new, like-minded people (hey, everyone is crap at the start) and doing something different really worked. I changed my routine and something lifted; this tiny shift chased away my stuck-in-a-rut blues and kickstarted inspiration. Change – even in a minuscule form – has the power to do this. You can look at problems with a fresh set of eyes and even if something can’t be done then, there’s no reason you won’t be able to do it in the future.
So, get out there and embrace the fact that your “adulting” may not be up to scratch. You can change this. No matter how bad it may seem (even at a minor level) or if you tire of routine, get out there and take a class, join a reading group, anything. Just enhance your skill set. You’ll feel better for it and be ready for any DIY curveball that comes your way.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to boil an egg…