~ 4 Minute 20 Second Read
Ever since I was young, I thought becoming an adult was a sudden change in age and time. Like when I reached 20, I’d suddenly know everything about relationships, living alone, and politics. Or when I’m 80, I’m suddenly going to know how to knit my grandchildren really dorky sweaters so when they grow up I can tease them about it. But now, I realize that is not the case.
Right now I have a goal to save up enough money to finally get out of my parent’s home (hopefully by next year). I’ve finished school, I have a job, and I’m pushing myself to work harder than ever. Something new and adult-like I’ve done recently is I’ve registered for a GST number. It was upon request of an employer that I do this so I could get paid as a contractor and they would be able to write it off.
Now, if you need to know anything about me it’s that I’m a creative. Ever since middle school I’ve been teaching myself the ropes of the Adobe software and man, do I love it. When it was time for classes like math, that’s when my attention would drift away or I’d end up frustrated and give up. The great thing about this scenario is now that I have a job in the creative field, I don’t need to use math (much). BUT there are lots of areas of expertise that I should’ve locked my attention span onto and didn’t.
And that, my friend, is taxes. I’m not going to say this is my fault because it’s actually not something we learned in school. The most I learned in the money department was how to set a budget. Which is pretty crazy when you think about it because our world basically revolves around money. I think we did a day of budgeting in Grade 8 – Career and Personal Planning and the rest of that class was resume writing and setting goals.
I, for one, knew absolutely nothing about taxes and it made me feel really inadequate. Again, I thought once you turn a certain age, you just know these things. It’s one of those skills, for example: if you don’t know how to ride a bike by age 8, how to swim by age 12 or how to drive a car at age 18 – it feels like it’s never going to happen. Or like hearing one of those words people say all the time that you sort of get the definition of by context but would never feel confident using it in your own sentence. That’s how I feel about taxes.
You can tell by my most recent blog topics that I’m fixated on growing up and becoming more confident in handling my own responsibilities right now. I’ve always been the independent type and have taught myself how to navigate through life’s obstacles. I realize at this point in time, there are things I don’t have the attention span for. Topics I need assistance in learning. I need to push my barrier of independence and ask for help.
This is hard for me to do for two reasons. One, I pride myself in being able to fix my own problems. And two, I don’t want to come off as stupid. At times when I have mind blanks or don’t understand something, I feel like I’m doing blondes everywhere an injustice by following our stereotypes of being “dumb” or “ditzy”.
Luckily, I have a boyfriend who graduated with a business/entrepreneurial degree. If I didn’t have someone who I could be vulnerable with, without the expectation of being laughed at or worry of being annoying – I think I would still be oblivious to the things he’s been teaching me. I am trying to pick up business practices and at least inform myself on the right way to do things and he is always there to answer my questions no matter how dumb they sound. Sometimes he will answer a question and I’ll have to get him to elaborate from the very beginning.
The most important part is that it’s truly been helping! I used to go to my mom to ask questions about bills and taxes but she is the type of person that hands it off to her husband. She has no participation in the matter and doesn’t understand any of it. I know a lot of other people are like that too, that’s what accountants are for; but it always kind of dug under my skin that she didn’t want to learn it or understand it.
I think it’s another one of those pieces of independence for me. I mean, preferably, I wouldn’t have to learn this and could give it to someone else to do. But what happens if I were to lose that person? Or if there was something suspicious happening and I couldn’t decipher what it was because I don’t know anything about it? Even the fundamentals are enough to put my mind at ease. I know that since I am in a new position and not making a lot of money right now, it’s easier to be hands-on. Of course when I start making more and more money and can’t keep track of everything myself – that’s when I will head, open arms to an accountant. But I still want to be cautious that I won’t be taken advantage of.
I would never feel confident in any of this, if I didn’t ask the questions that I do. I think it’s so important to get what’s on your mind – out. You aren’t born knowing the answers to everything. And if you learn to swim at age 30 instead of 12, you can still be an intelligent human being. My sister is 26 and still doesn’t have her driver’s license, yet she has taught me a lot.
The main point I want to make is to never stop learning. You don’t want to have to depend on someone your whole life. Who knew that all of what seems to be mandatory skills (like swimming or taxes) are something you actually have to learn yourself. It’s pretty incredible looking back at all of the milestones we have accomplished. Remember learning to walk and talk? We’ve come so far!
And we have so much time to achieve more. Learning to knit is far from my list of priorities right now but if you come visit me when I’m a grandma… I better at least know the basics.
So here’s to asking stupid questions, figuring life out, and having an endless bank of skills. You may feel dumb at first but once you overcome that embarrassment, you will feel so much more powerful with the knowledge you have accumulated. So whatever insight you are looking to figure out (doesn’t have to be as adult and boring as taxes), take the leap. For instance, if you are wanting to learn how to cook don’t be afraid to ask “How do I defrost meat?”, “Where can I dump out the oil?”, “What is broiling?” because everyone had to learn it at some point.
You are not alone in your unfamiliarity. I ask my boyfriend but don’t hesitate to bombard your family members, peers, classmates, and teachers all of these questions too. It also gives them a nice do-good feeling to be able to help when they know you are sincerely asking. Good luck!
(PS. This post was inspired by the video below):