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Operation #BeAnAdult

Posted on 28 March 2012

The other day, I posted this to Facebook and Twitter.

Operation BeAnAdult: got taxes done. Updating insurance policies. Getting vaccines. Thinking about retirement plans. This is hard.

— Andrew Kurjata (@akurjata) March 27, 2012

I’m joking, but I’m not. For years, there have been a number of things that I know I “should” do but haven’t gotten around to, because there’s no particular deadline. The reason for this can be explained by this graph from the comic Hyperbole and Half, titled: “This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult“.


I’ve tamed the lower end of this graph– I can work, buy groceries, and breathe. Once a year I can do my taxes, because I know there’s tangible consequences for not doing so. We took on buying a house, and everything that went with that– home insurance, putting in fire alarms, etc. But other things, like figuring out a retirement plan or updating life insurance has always been something that can be put off. Even things like getting booster shots– if I hadn’t stepped on glass last year, I probably still wouldn’t have my tetanus. The reason these don’t get done is because you start piling all these on: will, dentists, long-term budgeting and you hit that “system failure” point. Every once in a while you get ambitious and figure out everything that needs to be done, but then it gets in the way of basics like cooking, and it all falls apart.

As the comments on this comic, and the comments on my own posts, show, this is a common problem. Being an adult is hard. I think part of the reason for this is because it seems like your life is already busy enough– you spend enough time cleaning the bathroom, now you have to figure out what RRSP’s mean?

But this time I realized something. The basics: cooking, cleaning, working– those are things you have to do every day. They don’t go away. But all these other things– the extras. They’re a one-time project.

Get your vaccines? You’re good for another ten years. Find a dentist, go, and you’re set– they send you a postcard periodically, and you show up for the appointment. Figure out what you need for insurance, retirement, etc, one time, and then you just keep paying into them, occassionally adjusting for your changing needs– no more difficult than your phone bill. A will, once done, is done. All of these things can be set and forget. One burst of being an uber-adult and you can go back to coasting at mid-level adult mode you’ve grown comfortable with.

So this is why I’ve started Operation #BeAnAdult. I’ve made a list of things that have niggled the back of my mind for years, with the goal of completing them over the next four months. They are:

  1. get all necessary booster shots
  2. get all necessary health and dental checks
  3. review and, if necessary, update personal insurance policies
  4. write a will
  5. get a retirement plan

Not that bad. Five things, and I’m good to go for another decade.

And I’m hoping for help in this project– if you’ve done any of these things, please tell me how you did it, what research you conducted, who you saw– anything that might be helpful. That is the most difficult thing about this process, I think– you know you’re supposed to have a will, but don’t know how to do it, etc. So if you think you can help– or if you have any of your own questions!– feel free to use the comments, or Tweet me. This can be a group project.

Good luck to us all.

Filed under: Best Of, personal

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