If I remember correctly, it is the English who put their fair maidens through finishing school. Where young girls coming of age were taught to be proper. Or is it to act proper? Is this a practice they still uphold? I ask out of genuine curiosity. I also wonder if there is a version of this kind of school but one where they teach people on what to expect as an adult.
Because I am stunned at all the things I am learning as an adult. While they are happening. With almost no opportunity to hit pause, learn and come try again.
The other day one of my little humans asked me a question about the value of money. And in this conversation he explained inflation without even knowing what he was describing. It blew my mind, firstly because I don’t think my twelve year old self had similar thoughts around money at twelve years old, secondly, because in this same conversation he was able to deduce how inflation affects the cost of living.
That conversation sent my mind down a dark rabbit hole of my learnings on the go as an adult.
On money, I really have been learning and continue to learn as an adult. Never did I experience a situation where I was guided through what it means to save, or invest or how to make money work for you. Outside of the subject of Business Education, my 8-4-4 people from the early 90’s you feel me? Conversations around money were usually in the context of warnings. Should you fail in school you won’t make it in life. Basically don’t read, don’t pass exams, you will end up poor and broke. And broke people don’t have money to save or invest or buy assets like land and shiny play things like cars. That was the narrative on money. So now you have to make an intentional effort to learn money and what it can do for you. You have to learn how to use money as a tool and how to make money work for you. All the good stuff.
When I was learning how to drive in my early twenties, I vaguely remember that at some point in driving school, we were told that we need to know how to change a tire should your car get a puncture. However, no one showed us how, and it is not until one actually has a puncture that one needs to figure out the proper way to change a tyre. If you are lucky, possibly someone may stop to assist. But what then happens if you happen to be on a deserted road? Will you wait for help or do you buckle down and get it done?
Now that we are talking about cars. I think I glossed over the lessons in driving school over basics like topping up wiper water, coolant, air pressure and all the small things that keep your car functioning in between services. That was the only time this information was passed on. Mark you, not all driving instructors are built the same so you may or may not get this part of the lesson. It also got me wondering whether this was a function of gender roles? Were boys learning these things while girls were being taught to be homemakers? If you have more insight on this please do share in the comments. I am itching to know.
There was no preparation on how most days as an adult would be spent doubting my capabilities. The almost crippling anxiety that sometimes creeps in at the end of the day, at least for me, and gets me doubting the decisions I make. It leaves me wondering if I made the right decisions and hoping that I don’t end up with massive regrets. What if I fail? There is no fall back plan. The option of falling back on family and friends is never guaranteed. Waking up and making decisions as an adult is a game of taking risks everyday, having to believe that the choices you make will eventually pay off.
Also no one really knows what they are doing. We are all out here faking it. Okay, maybe not all of us but a majority of us. We go through life feeling like the spotlight is on us, wondering if we are doing things the right way. In reality, because we all did not get the manual on how to go through life, we barely know what is the right way. But because nobody wants to be singled out as the fraud, we all move through life like we know what we are doing, like we have things handled. And God forbid we admit that to ourselves let alone others! What will they think? The fear of being the person who admits to not know what they are doing is greater than the need to actually try and figure it out as a collective. Could this be the intentional plan for being in the matrix? And opting to be different means you change up the rules on the game of life? Tafakari hayo.
The never ending bills! Nothing is for free. Education taught us the basic human needs: food, shelter and clothing. The school of life is teaching us that all that shit ain’t for free. You gotta pay for everything! Then add on utilities, transport costs, luxury items, travel. Everything has a price tag attached to it. Honestly, we live it and get shit done but I think we owe it to the generations behind us to prepare them for the never ending myriad of bills to be paid. And that there are always dishes in the sink.
Someone should have warned us about the price of curtains!
I am a millennial. I grew up in the era of where it was drilled into you to have a life plan. And that life was supposed to almost take a predictable direction. Where the amount of effort you exert is equal to the results you produced. So imagine the shock factor when life shows you that that is not how it works. Ever heard of the saying we make plans and God laughs? No one ever mentioned that sometimes all you need is consistency. Doing things in small incremental steps could eventually lead up to building or creating the life that you desire. That it may not necessarily equate to a lot of effort exerted all at once in a particular direction.
Things don’t always go according to plan, especially since life does not follow a linear path. So sometimes plans fail. And there is nothing wrong with you if your plans fail. Sometimes it is like that. But we were never really taught to experience disappointment and to be okay with it. Instead we were put under pressure to perform. Pushed to always be the best. Raised to be the best and that failure was not an option. So as an adult, when we don’t excel at something as adults, we take it hard. At least I do. It is only in recent times that I am starting to recognise failure as a separate entity outside of my identity. Failing at something does not make me a failure.