Sometimes I wonder how I’ve made it this far in life. I thought getting older and wiser would make grown-up life easier. As an adult, I’m learning new things and growing some-what wiser, but it seems the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.
The world is vast and exciting and full of opportunities, but it’s also a confusing and challenging adventure. I’ve always felt that there are possessions in my life that I don’t know enough about to have the right to own. My car is one example. I can fill it with gas and drive it to work, but I can’t change the oil or replace a fuse, or even remember to take it in for routine maintenance. I can barely remember to take myself in for an annual doctor visit or bi-monthly hair trim.
Other things I shouldn’t own include my iPhone, a computer, and a house. I just simple don’t understand enough to care for them properly and I end up feeling really dumb.
On the other hand, I’ve mastered gardening and landscaping. (Except when I leave the mower out in the rain.) And I have an impeccable knowledge of pugs. I know more useless facts about the toy-breed than I’ll ever need, thanks to library books, Dogs 101 and Pugopoly. I’d do just fine living in a garden with my two pugs forever!
Living as a young professional in Oklahoma City, however, has me stumped. I don’t feel that I’ve ever been prepared for “real” life. College taught me skills specific to my career, and for that I’m forever grateful. I can write a thesis on women’s rights and international relations, and present on social media’s role in the nonprofit sector. Yet, I have no idea how to file my taxes. Thankfully I have a husband who does!
I discovered throughout the home buying process that I know nothing about applying for a loan, property taxes, interest rates or credit scores. Did you know a company can sell your loan? Or that you actually end up paying about three times the purchase price of a car or home due to interest?
When it comes to having health insurance, I know I’m covered…and that’s about it. Deductibles make no sense. You have to fight the company to cover your payments, because they never seem to want to. The time and effort it takes to file a case is often not worth it, which is probably how they make so much money. Don’t I buy insurance so that I will be helped when there is an accident? I’m just expecting to get what I pay for. Maybe I’m asking too much.
And because I’d like to retire one day, I’m told to start contributing to a 401K. (I don’t even know what that stands for.) You can put in, but have restrictions for what you can take out. What happens when I change jobs? Where does my money go? Then comes the fancy term IRA, along with roth and deductability rates. The commercial on tv shows growing dominoes. That’s all I want. But where to invest is a whole other can of worms.
Between legal jargon and contracts, insurance agents and investors seeking their own interests, government documents that need decoding (I think they are written in English.) I’m not sure how I survive. And I haven’t even mentioned a life insurance policy or saving for my future children’s futures.
I need to find a life coach who can explain to me how this life stuff works. There should be a grown-ups’ civics class for succeeding in America. If you find one, send them my way. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy a cup of kool-aid and watch animal shows with my pups.