Levelling-up from teenager to adult
In the great words of Britney Spears, "I’m not a girl, not yet a woman." Welcome to adulting: the point where your last fleck of teenage skin is shed and you become an adult attempting to steer your own life.
With this transition, a new mindset is needed - lest you turn into one of those man-children from The Hangover. Everything is going from 0 to 100 real quick - just yesterday you were playing Mario Kart and suddenly you have to apply for your BTO with your CPF.
But feeling overwhelmed with all your newfound responsibilities is normal - it’s all part of growing up. Here are some tell-tale signs you're metamorphosing from adolescent to adult:
1. Instead of taking money from your parents, you’re the one giving them allowance
That’s right - the tides have turned. Gone are the days where your parents will act as your personal ATMs and fund your shopping trips. Now, it’s up to you to show your gratitude and filial piety by providing for your folks.
#ICanAdult tip: Pass your parents their allowance within the week of getting your pay, otherwise you might put it off and spend it on other stuff!
2. Friday night is no longer spent at Zouk because clubbing is way too exhausting
Chanting “EH WAH EH WAH EH WAH” amidst a crowd of sweaty bodies - and possibly stepping in someone’s puke - has lost its appeal. Instead, your idea of a rad time on a Friday night is ordering some pizza and binge-watching your favourite movies in the comfort of your home.
3. You used to hunt for new cafes, now you hunt for BTO
With the same zest you once had for sniffing out the newest hipster food joints, you now spend a majority of your weekends staking out prospective BTO units. Time is catching up and the pressure to secure a flat before proposing to bae is rising quickly - especially since your new crib will take at least 3 years to build.
#ICanAdult tip: Avoid being overly ambitious! Set a fixed budget for your housing needs and work within those boundaries. If you scour through all those catalogues long enough, you’ll find your dream place which doesn’t place an unbearable strain on your wallet.
4. Hoarding promo codes and coupons because you realise how fast money runs out
In the good old days, your student ez-link card could survive on $10 for a week or more, but now the same amount is gone in 3 days - tops. It doesn’t help that you can no longer enjoy meals and movies at special student prices.
As you start feeling the pinch of daily expenses, your inner kiasu auntie is unleashed - scouring newspapers and pamphlets for discount coupons is a new pastime, and there’s an arsenal of promo codes stored in your phone. With each addition to the collection, you’re increasingly sorry for laughing at Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June for her crazy coupon obsession.
#ICanAdult tip: Embrace all the judge-y looks from your friends. So what if people think you’re a cheapo auntie? At the end of the day, you’re gonna have the last laugh when you realise how much you’ve saved.
5. Nap time is no longer dreaded but seen as a treat
You used to be an energiser bunny staying back in school just to play basketball for hours, but now you’re tired all the time even though your job doesn’t even require you to move from your chair. At the end of the day, you no longer have any energy left to play DotA until 2am like you used to - that sweet feeling of melting into your bed is all you need.
6. Teenage lingo is now completely foreign to you
If you think “shipping” only refers to your Taobao delivery, “roasting” is just a cooking technique, and have no idea what being “shook” means, sorry to break it to you - you’re no longer one of dem’ cool youngsters. Try not to be too salty about it.
#ICanAdult tip: Stay in the loop of things by spending more time with your younger siblings or cousins. Alternatively, watch American drama like Scream Queens, and you’ll catch the lingo in no time.
7. All the junk food you’ve been shoving into your system is starting to show
Good news: your job seems to be working out. Bad news: you are not. And your slowing rate of metabolism - coupled with a sedentary office lifestyle - can no longer keep up with all chips you’ve been munching on.
Yes, late-night binging is starting to show - in the form of a slight paunch where your flat tummy once was. Time to lay off the snacks, start eating clean and finally renew that gym membership that you’ve been neglecting for months - it’s still not too late to hop onto the #newyearnewme bandwagon!
8. Anniversaries now mean couple staycays at MBS instead of handmade gifts
Your relationship isn’t a frivolous secondary school BGR that’ll fizzle out in a couple of weeks, but a legit commitment that will possibly lead to marriage. As you level up in life, so does your gifting game - because other than not wanting to appear an unromantic cheapo, you also know that the love of your life deserves nothing but the best. Days of folding paper stars are far behind as you acquaint yourself with baby’s favourite brands - even the ones you can’t pronounce.
#ICanAdult tip: It’s always good to set aside a fixed sum for you to splurge on bae instead of panicking as she reminds you that the anniversary is a week away. Try to aim for something practical yet suited to your partner’s tastes so that the celebration will be meaningful and well worth your hard-earned moolah.
9. People start approaching you on the streets to offer financial services
Yes, you. Insurance agents don’t approach xiao mei meis with no moolah, so if you’ve been targeted, chances are you look like a mature human being who knows your stuff. Age is catching up, and you have no choice but to accept that you’re no longer a baby-faced teen.
#ICanAdult tip: Gone are the days you could smile and slip past insurance agents at MRT stations unscathed. Instead, it’s time to start adulting and getting some research done. It’s better to know what you need or not need so you can explain to the agent that yes, you've got a savings plan on top of a medical insurance one and sound like you know what you're talking about.
10. Saving for the future becomes more rewarding than showing off the “baller life”
Splurging all your angpao money on multiple pairs of NMDs may make you happy for a few days, but the feeling will wear off after a week or two. Now that you're adulting, you've probably experienced being kept up at night by the panic of having too much month at the end of your money, and it's worse now that you might have actual responsibilities.
Planning your finances may seem like a chore at the start, especially with no obvious tangible returns. But once you realise that not having to tear your hair out when it's time to pay your bills is worth more than Instagramming your latest staycation, you'll know you've well and truly started adulting.
Yet, the sian part comes when you realise you also have to factor in CPF contributions. Your take-home pay and spending power becomes so much lower than what you’ve anticipated, and disgruntlement naturally follows. But - as preachy as this sounds - there will come a time where we start to value our long-term plans more than the instant gratification that the latest iPhone can give us.
In fact, the moment you start prioritising putting money aside each month for savings, your spending habits will change - and suddenly, having a portion of your salary taken for CPF won’t seem like such an injustice after all. After all, your CPF comprises savings that can be used to fund your housing, healthcare and kick-ass retirement, at much higher interest rates than neighbourhood banks.
Proving that #ICanAdult in Singapore
From purchasing your dream BTO to providing for your parents, adulthood encompasses a whole new world of responsibilities and financial commitments. Everything seems to escalate so quickly that it’s impossible to stop for a breather.
Things may seem daunting right now, but as you slowly ease into the cusp of adulthood, you'll realise that things aren't so scary after all – especially if you have actionable plans such as online research or financial planning to help sort your future out. Be it having career goals or a savings scheme, grappling with adulthood will be much easier once you get organised! So start making your plans today – and you'll be confidently able to say #ICanAdult in no time.
This post was brought to you by CPF Board.