Young adulting 101
Alongside working those long hours, cooking some kind of basic pasta dish, getting too drunk on a Wednesday with work colleagues and wasting half your paycheck on an overpriced weekend away to a Pinterest-worthy city, life admin falls short of things to do most days. However, there are some elements of life admin that you should be doing that boil down to much more important than deleting Tinder from your phone or reading that massive pile of free magazines. I'm not trying to be like your mum because I'm actually very guilty at not doing many of these, yet they're something that every mid-twenty-year-old woman should consider thinking about and adding into your life schedule.
1. Cervical smear tests
Six months before you turn 25, you'll get the letter telling you ITS TIME for that dreaded smear test. I'm having my first one this week and whilst I am definitely not looking forward to it, it's one of those things you just have to do in life and to be honest, is always worse then you think. Cervical cancer screenings are incredibly important in finding any abnormal cells in your cervix, and whilst they can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking, it is something every young woman needs to do. Even if you're scared they'll find something, it's better to find it early on and treat it. This week is #SmearForSmear Cervical Cancer Awareness week, and with attendance at a 19 year low, make sure you don't brush it under the carpet.
2. Sign up as an organ donor
I recently got a cheery e-mail into my inbox one morning, exclaiming in the subject line 'WHO WILL LOOK AFTER YOUR FAMILY WHEN YOU DIE'. Now I'm not planning on toddling off anytime soon but it does make you think. And if I were to go tomorrow (touch wood) then I'd want to know that my body actually went to some good, be it giving someone a new liver or new set of lungs. I believe organ donation should be an opt-out thing rather than an opt-in thing, but until then, make sure you sign up to make sure you're helping someone who may need you more than you think.
3. Giving blood
This is where I get a bit hypocritical; I haven't actually ever given blood. It's not through lack of trying: despite being someone hideously scared of needles that I sob every time one is near me, I tried to get over this by giving blood last year. However a combination of not weighing enough at the time as well as having bad circulation (thanks grandma for that gene) meant that they couldn't do it and unless they can get a full bag, they can't use you. Needles are shitty, but no matter your blood type, they always need more and even if you try and can't, it's something that goes a step of the way to giving back to those in need. Having read recently on Alice Tate's blog that one pint can save three adults or seven babies, it's amazing how a small act can make such a big different to someone. And with the number of first-time donors down by 24.4% since 2005, it's time we educate and sign up. And you get biscuits afterwards, so swings and roundabouts.
4. Dentist + optician appointments
We all live in happy denial of 'my teeth don't hurt so I'm fine' but bro; don't lose your teeth. You don't want to be that person who gets mocked on Jeremy Kyle for their hideous gnashers. Same when it comes to eyes; and hey, you may even come out with better eyesight with improvement!* *not likely. But stop pretending that you can survive years without a prod of the molars and a read of some teeny tiny letters; it's body maintenance and we need to chew and see, you know? They aren't free sadly, but with both under £20 each (or free with a coupon; thanks, Vision Express!), it's better to get checked then bury your head in the sand and then end up forking out hundreds to fix a problem that got worse over time.
5. Putting that money away
I'd much rather have a £5 bottle of Tesco's Dino Pinot Grigio with that spare money at the end of the month. But life has taught me, if not because of the beauty of the Fuck It Fund, that having spare money in case of an emergency is much more worthy than a happy sip of wine (I think...) And that pension thing? It's a way off, sure but I also don't want to be living in a worse condition than I am now when my body doesn't work as well and I need more help in life. So yes, it may only be a fiver or a tenner at a stretch, but in a year that can be up to £120 which might not seem like much but it means you have that buffer for a 'just in case'.
6. Get a credit card
Did you know that 67% of millennials don’t have credit cards? It can be hard if you have no money or you don't trust yourself to be careful with it (believe me I know). However, it's not just important to build your credit rating for when future-you might need a loan or a mortgage (ha ha ha ha sob) but also means you have insurance when booking a holiday or buying a TV. And if you pick the right one, you can get perks such as cashback or points. I've capped mine at only the amount I can afford to put on it every month so even if I max it, I can still pay it off in full every month. I went for the Barclay Freedom card, as their points add up to vouchers and get much more back than if it was cash and when they have double points days, it means I can have up to £40 to spend without doing anything differently.
7. Back EVERYTHING up
Remember that amazing three month trip around Asia? That video from the Craig David concert? Those old text messages from your ex-boyfriend? Whilst you may not want the last of that list, if you don't back them the rest of them up, that will be a fond memory. Invest in an external hard-drive which you can get fairly affordably, or use an online cloud-based system to keep all of your precious memories and documents safe. It's like insurance; you may never need it but when you do, you'll be grateful you did.
I'm not saying I'm a saint and I've done all these (see no. 3) but they're all things we should be doing for our health and sake of mind. If anything it's just called being an adult. Even if I still don't feel like one but hey, who does?