Voting and other ways to adult

12328438_1517405108565525_2006507848_nA few weeks ago I made a very adult decision and implemented a new house rule: No adult beverages until the floor in the apartment is swept.

As the pet mom to what I assume are the two most fur-producing animals on the planet, I had grown disgusted by how much fur was vacuumed up each week. It had grown out of control. So, as an adult, I used problem solving and an incentive system to make a change.

It has totally worked. The floor gets cleaned every day and we have wine with dinner. It's amazing.

Being an adult is hard. There's no doubt about it. But it also comes with some pretty nice perks.

Sometimes just getting out of bed can feel like an achievement worthy of adult-level rewards. But most days for most people, it takes a little more than the bare minimum of making it through the day to consider it a real win for maturity. Here are a few more things that you can do to feel like you've achieved adult success:

1. Clean out your dishwasher filter.

I admit, I don't do this as often as I should. I would venture to guess that few people do it as often as they should. I only did it for the first time in this apartment (where I've lived for over a year) a couple of months ago. It was absolutely disgusting. My guess is that I was the first person to clean the filter in a very long time. Although it was gross, it was oddly satisfying to complete a task from start to finish. As a result, something works better, and I assume my household is probably healthier. It was an adulting win.

(Other things that fall in this category: de-scaling your coffee pot, changing your air filter, and getting your oil changed. Cleanliness and changing things seem to be very adult things to do.)

2. Cook dinner and pack a lunch more often than not.

I happen to love to cook, so this one is easy for me. But I know that for a lot of people, cooking is a chore rather than a joy. It does take a little planning. Some people like to cook all of their food for the week on the weekend and just reheat during the week. My eldest sister once told me she enjoys doing all of her chopping at one time so she can just throw things in a skillet when she has less time. I like to make a menu for the week - planning quick dinners like eggs or stir fry or salad for busy weeknights. Cooking at home is a win-win-win. It saves money, tends to be healthier, and is almost always more delicious than cheap convenience foods. Financial and health benefits, plus yum - can't be more adult than that. (If you need more inspiration to cook, I cannot suggest this Julia Child remix more.)

3. Be polite.

65031247In a perfect world, this might read, "Show kindness." But if we've learned anything this year, it is that we do not live in a perfect world. Kindness should be the goal, but politeness requires a little less of us. Kindness requires compassion, empathy, and genuine caring; politeness only requires tolerance and self-control. Stress and bad days can make kindness and politeness a challenge. Sometimes kindness seems out of reach, but achieving politeness should be attainable by any adult most days.

4. Send a text when you are running late.

Technology is amazing. Back when my siblings and I were always the last people to show up at the party, or the last kids to be picked up at school, my mother had the excuse of not being able to let people know we were running late. But now that we have cell phones, there is no excuse. Everyone is busy. Everyone runs late sometimes. Letting people know is the adult thing to do.

5. Vote.

Voting is one of the most adult things you can do in the US. In fact, it's one of the things that you can only do once you are officially, legally an adult. When you turn 18, you can vote, buy cigarettes, donate blood, and join the military. All of these things are life-changing responsibilities that require thoughtful consideration. Each act seems easy enough to do: tick a box, take a puff, sit in a chair, sign up; but they all mean a lot more than their simple action.

Voting may not always be easy, but neither is cleaning out your dishwasher filter or being polite. And just like there are Youtube videos aplenty on how to clean your dishwasher, the internet has given us more than enough information to make an educated decision at the ballot box. And just like with those dishwasher tutorials, you should consider the source of the information before you start tearing into your machine. Non-partisan websites like and are two examples of where to look if you are finding this election overwhelming - and aren't we all?

But don't worry. It's almost over.

Early voting has begun in many places. Here in Chicago, early voting in each Ward begins tomorrow. I plan to stop on my way home from work to cast my ballot. It always feels good to adult well on a Monday. That's how you earn your adult beverage.

But not until the floor is cleaned.


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