The Broke Girl’s Life Advice for Females Entering Adulthood

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Getting to that next stage. And it’s a picture, because I read twice today that people like seeing pictures and this seemed the most appropriate. Plus, you’re never too old to go for a run in the snow in heels

I have always said that there needs to be a mandatory life skill class in high school for teens on the brink of adulthood.  Parenting, intimacy and relationships, scheduling and prioritization, shopping and meal planning for everyday cooking, gardening, finances, even taking care of animals are all things that we generally forego in lieu of algebra, art, aesthetics and phys-ed – which are all important too, don’t get me wrong.  But every year we are sending another group of unprepared new graduates out into the real world, all set for post secondary school, new careers, but with very little practical advice on how to navigate their own personal lives and what to expect out of them.  Especially as females, the more vulnerable of the two genders, we take what we can from our parents (if we’re lucky to have good role models guiding us), our mentors, older siblings and friends, but they’re not going to cover everything.  And neither am I.  But I am going to list some of the things that I wish I had been told when I was younger.

  1. You will be sexually harassed or assaulted at some point.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a XXS or a 3X, an A cup or a D cup, or what you look like.  If you are a female, it is going to happen, and for that I am sorry.  You may even be embarrassed or horrified to find yourself potentially stimulated by it.  Do not be.  It is biology.  None of this is your fault.
  2. You should be able to wear whatever you want, wherever you want, whatever time you want.  But if you are dressed provocatively, and if you are in questionable areas or parties, especially alone, under the influence, and/or at a late hour, while I know with today’s political correctness it is wrong for me to say so, the fact is you are an easier target for predators and are putting yourself at a very high risk of being assaulted.  Just because it shouldn’t happen doesn’t mean that you should ignore the fact that it does happen.
  3. You never need to have a drink because someone else gave it to you or paid for it.  “It’s alcohol abuse!” is one of the stupidest reasons anyone can use to try to guilt you into having a drink.  If they try to make you feel bad by pointing out that they paid for it, then thank them and let them drink it if you do not want to.  I have found that the more someone tries to pressure you into having a drink when you are clearly not interested, the more ill intentioned they likely are, or the higher the likelihood that person has already slipped something into it.  If you are going to drink, make sure you watch it being poured or open it yourself, and safeguard it until you are through with it.  Out of myself and my siblings three of us are female and one is male.  Three have had something slipped into their drinks, in familiar surroundings, surrounded by friends and trusted acquaintances at some point.  Can you guess which one of us hasn’t?
  4. It is never too late to try something new, though pursue the things you’re interested in as soon as you get the opportunity.  When you are younger you have more opportunities to do so than as an adult, and it is harder (though not impossible) to pick up new things as an adult.  I tried martial arts in my 20’s and ballet for the first time in my 30’s, amongst many other things.  I’m terrible at all of it.  But I’ve had a lot of fun.
  5. Stop complaining about the strictness of your dress code and start appreciating it.  Not only is it actually preparing you for life as an adult, but you will never again be allowed to dress so casually once you enter the workforce.
  6. Your pronounced dislike of reading may make you seem cool as a kid.  It will get you ostracized as an adult.
  7. Do not be ashamed to like the things you like.  Your personal preferences and tastes will be with you long after your school peers.
  8. Speaking of tastes – your taste buds will actually change over time.  Keep trying new things and occasionally try those things you once had a distaste for.  Those tomatoes and asparagus you hated as a kid may become your favourite food as an adult.
  9. No matter what you’ve heard, eating healthy – if you’re doing it right – is less costly than eating fast food and junk food.  With a 5$ bill I can buy a bunch of bananas or even a pre-packaged salad, both of which are good for several servings, with change left over.  With a 5$ bill I can afford one of McDonald’s ‘premium’ burgers… if only I scraped up a little extra cash.  Learn to shop in season, sales, buy in bulk when possible, and learn to meal plan.  Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts, and canned beans and lentils are long lasting, excellent sources of dense, lean proteins, and can normally be picked up for cents a can.
  10. That really sweet guy with the sob story about how he’s single because all of his exes are crazy b*tches?  The only common denominator in any of these relationships is him.  This is your warning sign.
  11. The way people talk about others to you is the way they will talk to others about you.  If you still went for that really sweet guy with the sob story about how he’s single because all of his exes are crazy b*tches, no matter the cause of your break-up, be prepared to be lumped in as one of them.
  12. Those crazy party pictures that are so much fun and that all of your friends ‘like’ right now will cost you in the long run.  Keep them in your photo album, not online.  People have lost scholarships and job opportunities and relationships – and gone to prison – due to the things they have posted online.  People are harassed and bullied because of things they have posted online.  Even if you’re good about your privacy settings it still doesn’t matter.  Many police forces for instance will demand your log in and password during the interview.  And they’re not the only ones.  If other people are posting questionable photos of you, ask them to take them down, then pursue further appropriate actions if they don’t.  In many instances you can get the authorities and legal system involved.  This is your life, and you need to safeguard your future.
  13. Men don’t like too much make-up.  They also don’t like no make-up.  They fantasize about women wearing make-up.  They don’t like kissing women wearing make-up.  They want us to look like supermodels.  They want us fresh faced.  Wear however much or little as you like.  I wear a tonne.  I love getting to look different every day if I want.  My boyfriend likes it when I wear it.  He prefers being close up when I’m not.  This is literally a no win situation.  So again, wear however much or little as you like.
  14. Because you’re an adult now, you need some attire that’s functional and adult to get you through school, interviews and your first adult job.  Instead of all those fun and cutesy clothes you hoarded for your high school years, you should be spending your money on at least one nice and appropriate multifunctional dress (lbd anyone?), a knee length skirt or two, a structured blazer, two or three tailored blouses, a good pair of appropriate closed toed black shoes and one or two pairs of properly fitted jeans and undergarments (hosiery included) – black, white and grey are classic and easily mixed and matched and have a high re-wearability factor.  These should easily get you through your first while in the adult world, and because you’re spending a little extra on a few quality pieces they will hold up well over time.  Casual Fridays in the workplace are still Fridays in the workplace, and sweats and graphic tees are not appropriate, though those jeans and a blouse are.  All of that trendy stuff you’ve had your eye on can wait, or can be purchased at a lower end store on sale – you won’t be wearing it next month anyhow.
  15. All of those dorky and nerdy things you’ve been avoiding out of fear of rejection, but secretly wish to partake in?  Go for them.  They make you a far more interesting adult.  I placed #1 on my school chess team.  I now work with highly educated professionals and (honestly) a lot of monied people – they don’t care that I once did gymnastics; we’ve bonded over chess talk.
  16. That loner that you find interesting and would love to talk to or that person you have a crush on that is too uncool for your friends, or that you think you might get teased for being with?  Talk to them now.  Make friends with them now.  Ask them out now.  In a few more years your judgmental peers will have gone by the wayside, and right now will likely be your last chance to spark up a friendly or romantic relationship with this person.
  17. Do not dumb yourself down to impress others.  And be nice; always.  Only in high school social circles do these things matter.  But you still have a full lifetime ahead of you.  As you get older people will remember you and respect you for your intelligence and disposition.  As a collateral advantage, doing these things earlier on in life may very well open doors for you when you least expect them later in life.  You never know when that kid everyone but you mocked growing up will become successful and have a once in a lifetime opportunity with you in the back of their minds.  But you should rise to the level of your intelligence and be nice regardless.
  18. Men/boys want to sleep with and casually date an experienced woman.  They want to marry someone more conservative.  Some will only settle down with a virgin.  Your personal number will never be the right one.  If you are engaging in premarital relations, only do it when it feels right for you, and keep your number to yourself.  Unless you have STI’s and are putting someone else at risk of acquiring them, your sex life is nobody else’s business.
  19. Dropping out of school for no real reason other than you didn’t like it, and getting into trouble as a kid is cool.  But not only will these things affect your post secondary life prospects, reminiscing about and having to admit to not graduating and your time in juvenile detention as an adult can be a source of embarrassment.
  20. People (not just men, but also women) will patronize you, undermine you and not take you seriously just because you are a female.  No matter what age or stage of life you are at, this will never change.  Again, just because this should be different, doesn’t mean you should ignore the reality of it.  A word of advice, if you are buying a vehicle from a dealer, as a young female, no matter how much you know about engines and models, etc, etc… bring a man with you.  I bought my last car from the showroom – haggled all afternoon, got the price down a few dollars – the lowest it could possibly go without forfeiting their entire commission I was told.  My ex walked in and that vehicle immediately went down 5 thousand dollars.  It’s not right.  It just is.
  21. All of that money adults make goes much, much less far than you think it does.  Your cost of living and your parent’s bills are far higher than you could ever imagine.  That thousand dollar cheque you know you have coming every two weeks from your first real job?  My rent in a smaller town, for a small apartment is $1000 a month.  I then need to pay bills and take care of my dog and buy food and hygiene and cleaning products after that.  And that’s just every month’s basic cost of living.  Start learning about finances, savings and money as early as you have access to it.  And if you haven’t already started, get off this blog and start doing your homework now.  On a similar note…
  22. That inheritance or whatever money it is you think you have coming to you is not guaranteed.  Do not think you can float through life now because this will one day be yours to take care of and set you up for life.  Find a way to make and save your own money, and pretend that fund does not exist.  If it comes through eventually, fine.  If not, you are an independent and capable adult and can have quite a nice life without it.  While you’re reading up on saving and budgeting and finances, open up a couple of side windows on the most recent stock market crashes, the recent US financial crisis, Canada’s last recession, the debt crisis, and the great depression to gauge just how much of your future you want to risk in trusting those funds to be there for you.
  23. That awful nickname you did not deserve and that high school reputation you either unfairly obtained or spent years cultivating will mean nothing once you graduate.  And the more time that goes by, it will become even less than nothing.
  24. Similarly, if you peak in high school or if high school is the time of your life, then you have a very long and disappointing several decades of life ahead of you.  My 30’s have been the best decade of my life.  Life expectancies are now nearing the century mark.  18 is barely the beginning, let alone the end.  You have so much more to look forward to.
  25. The kids that get teased in school will likely one day be your superior or your service provider.  Be nice to them.  Make friends if possible.  The kids who tease you in school, as an adult, will disappear and will no longer matter.  That mean group of girls everyone ‘likes’?  They don’t even like each other.  They are feared.  They go on to become unlikable adults.  That kid who bullies others in school is, more often than not, being abused, neglected or starved at home.
  26. You are not ‘stuck’ with the same body type as your family just because of genetics.  Genetics just predisposes you to certain metabolic disorders or diseases and your basic body structure.  You are just ‘stuck’ with the same body type or level of fitness and health because you eat the same foods at the same times under the same roof together.
  27. Starving yourself will grind your metabolism to a halt and will cause you to hold on to every last one of the few calories you do consume, which is the exact opposite effect of what you had intended.  Learn about nutrition and eat healthy and regularly, and find a way/s that interests you to stay active and you will always look and feel your best and healthiest.
  28. You do not have to be a certain size to be considered attractive.  Men may stare at supermodels or think they have to find a girl sexy because society tells them they should like the skinny girls, but they really prefer healthy to curvy.  I have been (due to illness) in the 90 pound range, and the 140 pound range (I’m 5″2-3 and have a very small skeletal structure – this is big for me).  The only time I have ever felt self conscious about my weight was when I was below 100 pounds.  I was unhealthy, sick and weak and looked terrible.  Men did not find me attractive and women regularly watched me to ensure I was eating and not purging, and neither of the two sexes felt anything wrong about telling me as much.  “Gross” was one of my all time favourite descriptors.  At 140 pounds I received far more compliments and much more male attention.  I now have no idea what I weigh, not having owned a scale in 12 years, I eat a balanced diet and always have some form of physical activity I engage in, I am healthy and feel fantastic and love my body.  And still I constantly have men telling me I need to gain weight because I’m too skinny to be considered attractive.  The truth is you will never be perfect to everybody, but you will be to many others.  Those parts you hate because they’re too big, too small, too curvy, too flat, too jiggly, not jiggly enough… there may be some people that will not like them, but there are literally millions of members of the opposite sex (and/or same sex) just wishing to come across someone with parts just like yours.
  29. And to go even further, confidence and a great attitude is just as, if not more, attractive than looks or a low BMI any day.  Try it out.  Fake it at first if you have to.  Practice.  Gisele Bundchen hiding out in a baggy men’s sweatshirt to hide her body, hunched up, staring at her feet over in a dark corner or glaring at anyone who dares approach will get passed over any day for that ‘nobody’ having fun out on the dance floor, laughing and smiling away, being friendly and comfortable in her own body and sexuality.
  30. When girls tell you that men are just intimidated by your beauty and strength, while there really are some men intimidated by a strong or independent or ridiculously beautiful face, you may in fact seem unapproachable, standoffish, or disinterested – or even worse, critical.  People can see that you’re beautiful and strong and independent.  But they want to approach someone who shows an interest and is engaged.  You’re really likely shy or scared of rejection.  Ensure your arms are not crossed holding people at bay, smile and spark up a conversation.  People will notice and appreciate it.  I used to stand with my arms crossed a lot and found it was difficult to force myself not to, so I would stand with my fingers entwined in my belt loops or stuck in my rear end pockets until I finally got over the habit… and wouldn’t you know, but just this simple gesture was enough that I saw a marked difference in the number of conversations I was having.
  31. Pick a few of your favourite meals and ask your mom or other female of influence in your life to spend a day or two showing you how to prepare them.  They will be thrilled to be able to pass their knowledge along to you, and you will learn a few life skills while having fun, bonding, and eating good food along the way.
  32. Crunches and sit ups and all of the abdominal exercises in the world will not give you visible abs, though they will build your ab muscles.  You need to eat properly and do cardio and/or strength training to uncover them.  Adversely, if you all but quit eating and cardio the hell out of your days, you may successfully peel off that outer layer, but with nothing underneath to show.  Eat, be active, be healthy.
  33. Drunk girls are not attractive.  Men do not find women more attractive because they are wasted.  They get picked up more often because the men are generally drunk too, and because drunk women are more likely to go home with them.  You do not have to drink or do drugs to be considered hot.  How this even ever became a thing is beyond me.
  34. Those older men dating high school girls?  They are not more mature.  They are usually either unable to find a woman their own age or are predatory.  Depending on where and how old you are and what you’re doing, it may not even be legal.  It’s creepy, not sexy.
  35. Moving out of your parents house as soon as possible is cool and liberating.  Living with them a little longer and saving money to pay for your school or put a down payment on a house is even cooler and more liberating.  For many of you this is the last chance and only opportunity you will ever have to be able to put away any significant percentage or all of your earnings.  Ever.  Take advantage of it.
  36. Even if you are in a consenting relationship, being allowed to touch/be touched by another in an intimate way, at any given time is a privilege, not a right.  If one person isn’t into it, then that’s where it should end.  Nobody else’s ‘needs’ are so great that you should feel pressured or guilted into doing something you don’t want to do.  You will regret it later, and ‘blue balls’ will pass.  If the other person threatens to find someone else to fulfill their ‘needs’, then good riddance; you just found out who they really are, and it’s one more day you didn’t waste on a creep unworthy of someone as amazing as you.
  37. Stop saying ‘women just hate me for some reason’.  Those of you who say you just can’t relate to other women, and don’t know why they don’t want to be friends with you, usually know exactly what the problem is.  Start working at building some female relationships.  When you get a little older and are getting to be more settled down you’re going to be very lonely.  All those guys you hang out with now are one day almost all going to disappear – they are going to find significant others eventually, as you likely will, and the reality is that many of your platonic friendships with them are going to fall by the wayside due to your/their/the partner’s comfort, and propriety.  You know your relationship is platonic.  They do.  Everyone suspects it to be otherwise.  Probably one of you thought about the other differently than the other did.  Maybe you only kissed that once when you were drunk.  Maybe you never did anything and there was no attraction and you just really enjoyed getting out racing or shooting together.  You’re all going to get older, and your group of your best male buddies can and eventually will have fulfilling lives without their best girl buddy from their bachelor days hanging around.  It’s just the way life is.
  38. Money, looks and the right connections really will get you places.  However, they basically just open the back door.  Brains, determination, hard work, a good attitude and perseverance will get you the same places if not farther, and will keep you there.
  39. Do not pass over opportunities, give up on your school or career dreams or activities or only partake in something because of a man or your friends.  Your life and your future is the one riding on it.  When you’re young you may think you have found the love of your life and move to be closer to him as you prepare to follow him to the Maldives so he can pursue his dream – and then weeks prior to the big move he breaks up with you (this happened to a friend of mine), and your BFF forever will eventually move or pursue their own family or career.  And you don’t want to be left behind with nothing of your own.  If your love really is the love of your life and your BFF is really your friend, they will support you and find a way to stay connected while you further your own goals.
  40. Lastly and inappropriately (and I apologize to those who might be uncomfortable by it), you’re not going to learn about sex by watching and trying to emulate porn.  Almost none of the women in them are enjoying themselves and most healthy and consenting adults are not doing the things you see in them.  The majority of women in XXX vids look like they’re in pain for the reason that they actually are in pain.  I’m neither promoting nor discouraging sexual behaviour, but if you are engaged in it or just starting to be, this is not the best way to go about it.  If you are sexually active, you should be enjoying it and you should be safe and feel comfortable; not compromising your morals, health and comfort because you or your partner saw someone getting paid to do that thing that hurts or scares you on that dirty movie once.

So besides politics and religion which I have left out entirely on purpose, what am I missing here?  What have I got wrong?  What did I get right?  Anything you really wish you had known when you were younger?  Or maybe you are younger and having issues with something else entirely that I may have left out.  I’ll happily share my experiences (when I feel appropriate) if I think it could help someone out.  I always enjoy feedback, comments, even criticism!

Author: thebrokegirlsguidetobetterliving

Welcome! I am "thebrokegirl", aka Mandy. And what makes me a broke girl? Being a single income household, living the best life I can alongside my big grumpy dog obviously, but also because I'm not perfect - I'm broke - I'm a work in progress, which is exactly how I want to stay! My passion for writing, research, trying new things and wanting to help and inspire others are what inspired me to start this blog. So what makes me an expert on better living? Nothing! I'm just a girl trying. And what is better living? It's mindfulness, small changes, simple acts, baby steps to help make your day, your health, your environment, your life just that little much better. I'm on a lifelong journey to level up my life, and invite you to share that journey alongside me!

9 thoughts on “The Broke Girl’s Life Advice for Females Entering Adulthood”

  1. You are sharing phenomenal wisdom here and I hope there are some that read this and gain some serious insight to everything you are writing.
    And reading this is another reason I’m glad we’re connected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ever so much! I really feel as if we’re not doing enough to let young people know what they’re really going to expect after their teenage years come to a close – it’s so much more than you’re going to move out, get that degree, get a job, hang out with your bestie forever and be able to navigate intimate relationships and raise 2.5 babies because your gym teacher showed you a video of an egg being fertilized after tossing you a condom once. I really feel as if this isn’t even enough to crack the ice, and am already brainstorming for a potential part 2, but hope that maybe even one point might resonate with at least one person and help them on their way. If not, at least I got to say my piece 🙂 It’s my interactions with you and your warm and thoughtful words that make me happy we connected. Off to go finish reading your latest poem now xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. I love this.
    I agree with practically everything you say, and if only our children could learn these valuable lessons instead of the mostly false and heavily indoctrinated “facts ” and “core material ” they are fed in school. Sometimes the thought of my precious baby having his beautiful pure mind muddied by the slosh he’ll be subjected to at school, terrifies me. Which is why I am so proud that I am an enlightened, free thinking embracing mummy who can’t wait to impart my life lessons to him . Now I can add some of these, too. Thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      It’s funny, the history kids are learning now in school is so different than the one I learned decades ago, in the same school, in the same town. It’s terrifying that even the cold hard facts can be so easily ‘interpreted’ so very differently. And now there are no longer multiplication tables or cursive? Yet my nieces are still going to graduate soon enough with about as much idea of what life is really going to throw at them as I did. They go to school to encounter all of the same problems my generation faced. They have just as much (for better or worse) life skills as I did at the same age. And generation after generation of students are coming into the adult world completely devoid of confidence and thinking that there is something wrong with them the way they are. It’s heartbreaking.

      If only everyone had parents who thought the same way. Watching them grow and having such a heavy influence in helping to form the little humans they are evolving into must be one of the scariest yet most amazing and rewarding parts of raising little ones!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is! It’s the same in the UK; the curriculum is just useless and designed to indoctrinate, placate and deliberately under nourish the right side of the brain and suffocate the pineal gland in our beautiful babies’ brains. Unless you can afford to attend a good private school, which is able to focus on extra curricular activities and develop children’s creative capabilites, you are stuck drowning in a swamp of useless drivel and incorrect facts . It’s stressful to think about but as I said, I’ll do my utmost to nurture my son’s amazing brain as best I can! Your neices are lucky to have you to turn to for real knowledge and wisdom. Thanks again for a great post. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this! And the idea of your blog. And I totally agree, these should be taught in schools! As early as possible. Instead of letting discomfort dictate an ostrich policy. I’ve been to a few schools in different countries and states (always local schools), and I can count on one hand the teachers that were good and imparted life wisdom. My freshman World Cultures teacher comes to mind. And a very few others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply! I have to admit that some of my biggest takeaways from school were actually the motivational speakers and passersby who came in to present, and imparted upon the students their experiences and the things they had learned upon the way – we were very fortunate to have had in sexual assault survivors, burn victim survivors, people on cross country adventures (coast to coast), and even car crash survivors. While I cannot bisect – or whatever it’s called – a circle or remember the Pythagorean theorem, I can vividly recall all of what these people had to say, and still apply those lessons to things I do in my daily life. I am glad you have enjoyed reading. I am undertaking to go through each visitor and their sites one by one (a tedious task, but all are worthy of due diligence!) and yours is on the list to visit xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words. My schools weren’t that progressive. Well, the ones I attended in the States had really good teachers that made you think and would impart their wisdom. The ones I attended in Germany were . . . Steiner School was big on creativity (good), the public school I attended, forget it.

        It’s funny, because I received this as I was writing my previous post but didn’t check until I was finished. But my point was to show how functional but essentially soulless education at some schools can be. Like you, I’m vaguely familiar with some contributions of the Greeks towards Math (in that I know they existed), and a circle is . . . well, I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with one really. But what I do remember are the teachers in America who imparted their wisdom. Which is what I try to do when I coach youngsters in languages as well. I don’t have all the answers, but I can guide them to potential sources.

        Do come by and have a read when you have time (though, believe me, I feel you on the time thing). I’d love to get your opinion on some of what I wrote, since I think it ties in with your post.

        Btw, no idea why I drifted into this pseudo-British at times just now. I did live there, but that was a) s long(ish) time ago and b) I sounded horrible when I tried it. 😃

        Like

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