Wednesday, August 27, 2014

49 skills for a richer life: man, woman, young & old.

Over the weekend I was cruising social media, as I tend to do when Jason's watching pre-season football, and ran into a Huffington Post articles that made me say yes and be annoyed with so much no. This 49 Life Skills Every Modern Woman Should Have made me feel (1) accomplished because I could say "Done That!" to so many, (2) like there's so much more to being an independent, feminine woman, and (3) wish that I could write a list of my own for people: man and woman, young and old. 
Then I remembered, I have a blog, and so I can do as I wish. 
I know, lists. Eck. We all complain about them and think they're against the "blogging rules" but let's take a moment of very sincere transparency: next week is Jason's birthday and the following our anniversary which means lots of emotional feels coming up. That said, a list will balance all the emotional things right out. Also, I read lists and count how many apply to me because I enjoy keeping score (imagine how much marriage has humbled me and my scoreboard -another post for another day). 
So, without further babble or boredom, my list of 49 skills to enrich one's life. Not to make you the big bucks sort of rich (though maybe that'll happen for you), but to make you well-rounded... Or at least a bit more so. 
1. Establish and maintain a budget. In college I used an Excel spreadsheet. Once Jason and I wed and the finances were much more complicated we started using and are happy with most of it's features.
2. Manage a schedule. In a planner, on your phone, however you do it. Manage.
3. Throw an awesome bash. This doesn't mean at a venue or with a Pinterest theme -nope. A bash that's got memories teeming out the windows and some tasty (no one said healthy or gourmet) food and drink -if even just Domino's and beer. 
4. Discover your drink of choice. It'll make dates and dinners way less stressful. In the morning, I'm always apt to order a Bloody Mary. In the evening, a glass of Chardonnay or vodka-tonic. 
5. How to turn a house (or apartment or studio) into your home. This doesn't mean decorating (though brownie points there), but how to negotiate a lease or sale contract to make it yours -legally. 
6. Graciously accept a compliment. Being grateful instead of self-deprecating.  
7. Use tools -hand, power or otherwise- unsupervised. Screwdriver, hammer, drill, wrench: they're tools meant to make things easier and they do. Hang those pictures, plates, and shelves all by yourself babe. 
8. Learn to drive a stickshift. I know, who has one these days? A lot of people. If someone's drunk or hurt or in any other position where driving is dangerous, you can step up to the plate. (Plus you'll feel like a race car driver.) 
9. Sew on a button or close a split seemBecause the last thing you need is to be helpless before a big event: like a gala or a job interview. (FYI: Most hotels have sewing kits in the lobby.) 
10. Use a lawnmower. Sure, you might not have a lawn, but the mower is easy to use and might come in handy later -like when a friend has a baby and you want to help out more than making dinner or your parents fall ill and need some help keeping up the house. 
11. Learn to cook. Because I've never met anyone who isn't happy to enjoy a good homemade meal. (Also, helps with above-mentioned budget.) Women, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Men, the way to woo a woman is through her stomach. The Way to Cook by Julia Childs will help in every single way. Otherwise, Pinterest
12. Navigate using a map. Old-fashioned, Google Maps free style. (Props for navigation in the subway and bus systems -still working on this one myself.) You never know when you won't have cell phone service or 
13. Develop your knife-skills
14. Start a fire without gas or lighter fluid. 
15. Remove a stain from your favorite shirt or pants or dress. 99% of stains come out of our clothes when sprinkled with baking soda then drizzled with dish soap and massaged into fabric. I got hydraulic oil out of a silky-type material once using this method and wasn't disappointed. 
16. Hold your own in the face of a boisterous person. Be them a doctor, a coworker, a friend, or boss. When you're trying to make a point, you deserve to be heard.
17. Check a car's oil and fill it as needed. 
18. Diffuse a tense situation. Even if your not one of the contentious parties. 
19. Operate a barbecue. Such a wonderful summer skill that adds so much dimension to every dish, salad, burger. How to Grill by Steven Raichlen covers the basics of all kinds of grill skills, plus digs in deeper to the fancy stuff. 
20. Play a hand of gin. Usually served with alcohol and some interesting conversation. 
21. Ask for help. 
22. Learn to bait a hook, cast a line, and let off a fish. Worms, water, and wiggles all withstanding, there's a reward in there that looks like insane pride in one's self. 
23. Address an issue with a coworker, family member, friend, honestly and humbly. Because when we're right, it's easy to be high and mighty, but let's take a deep breath and be kind, yet firm. 
25. Open a bottle of wine (with class). I look like I'm prepared for a wrestling match with our bottles. Needless to say, still working at it.  Here's four different approaches for you. 
26. Make a good first impression. 
27. Negotiate a better price. For a car, a home, repair services. 
28. Define what success is for you
29. Shop entirely from the golden horseshoe at the grocery store. Just once. Not every time because ketch-up, Cheeze-its, and chocolate-dipped ice cream bars. 
30. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Yes, you might not have the chance to practice this before you need to use it, but be in the know. 
31. Knowledge of basic first aid
32. How to look natural in a picture. Kick that pained smile, that awkward arm, and that dog-esque head tilt. 
33. Enjoy reading and talking about (at least) a handful of novels. I'm biased, but there's no better way to be easily connected with another person at a party like talk about books.  
34. Throw a football, a baseball, and a basketball in a formidable way. That means my granny-shots are null and void. 
35. Know your limits. At the bar, with family and friends, at work. 
36. Confidently parallel park a car. Practice, practice, practice. 
37. Draft a formal letter, cover letter, and resume. Representing yourself well is vital in all aspects of life, especially the professional one. 
38. Apologize genuinely. And dole out forgiveness as well. 
39. Have a general knowledge of US geography. Like where the states are in relation to one another. 
40. Understand the world of finance in general, know your finances specifically. Know how a mortgage works, the workings of investment accounts, 401(k)s, taxes and withholding and deductions, the stock market. 
41. Find an exercise routine that is enjoyable and sustainable. There's more options than I can begin to count, but find what you love and do it. Nothing's better for the mind but working out the body -or so I believe. 
42. How to iron a shirt. Or skirt. Or coat. Or dress. Or slacks. Because almost as distracting as a missing button or split seam is wrinkles. 
43. Say no without guilt or anger. 
44. Hold a baby. Even if you don't want kids yourself, there's always that one family member who wants you to hold it because that'll make you want one... That said, do it right because those little nuggets of baby are pretty fragile. 
45. Negotiate a salary, a raise, or a promotion. 
46. Speak comfortably (or at least appear to be comfortable) in front of a group. 
47. Find a charity/church/organization who's cause you support financially or with time or both. Because life's not all about you, you know? 
48. Discover the best way for you to get a good night's sleep. Melatonin, soft music, sound machines, quilts, blankets, sheets. There's all kinds of advice, but your routine should be discovered and maintained. 
49. Form educated opinions and respectfully share them. Online, offline, and otherwise. Disagreeing is good as long as it's done with respect.


  1. I like this, a lot! Now, to learn how to stick shift.

  2. This post is so awesome....even if I can't do most of the things on it.

  3. AMAZING! I have never read a better list... So much so that I am writing a post on how well I scored in this list! Thanks my friend x

  4. Girl. This is amazing. Pinning this to refer to in the future. My favorites are define success for YOU and know your limits...two things that I'm learning and adapting to over time. Sharing this for sure!

  5. I LOVE this list... but am now feeling a bit inadequate since I can't do most of these things - I guess I have time to work on them!

  6. I love these!! Thanks so much for your honest, open, witty blog posts - it's refreshing. :)

  7. YES YES!! I too felt like there was so much more to being an independent feminine woman than what was in that article. It was rather basic, I thought well jeez I'm so grown up according to this... Now this list, is something to go on!

  8. I read the HuffPost article before I read yours (actually was only going to read yours, but I went to sleep and then someone else posted the other one so I thought I might as well.. long story long, oops) and I was kind of disappointed with it. I mean, there was good advice, but all the things women supposedly need to do.. I don't know, I just didn't buy it. Then I was looking forward to reading yours, and you didn't let me down! Your list is so much better than that one! Things I actually feel are important! I'd better get to work on some of these! (Although.. What is a golden horseshoe???)

  9. Girl, you have got it goin on! I love each and every one of these tips. A few I have done/tried, others I still need to attempt. This life is so short and sooo full of opportunities waiting to be seized by us. Love it!

  10. I love it! Although after reading this list I have a lot of work to do... lol

  11. I absolutely love this--since I suck at quite a few of these, it's giving me something to strive for!

  12. This is an AWESOME list. #35 especially resonated with me — I know we talk sometimes about being more open and saying "yes" to more things, but I've been having a hard time saying "no" lately, and have found myself completely burnt out. YES to knowing your limits!

  13. So many awesome things here! I'm totally pinning this tonight, just so I can always come back to it and remind myself of (a) all the crap I still need to learn; (b) all the crap it is totally awesome I know how to do; and (c) that YOU are an amazing friend, writer, role model, etc.! :)


  14. I'm glad that you got to see that one first before I shared mine! :)

    I realized that I could do a lot of the things on that list, but it didn't really make me feel accomplished or well-rounded. The golden horseshoe is shopping around the edge of the grocery store -dairy, meat, produce, sort of deal.

  15. No. Oh goodness. I'm the worst at no, especially when I feel like I'm disappointing someone... I'd rather disappoint myself, or be stretched too far, than feel like someone is let down by my choice... Which doesn't really help anyone because I'm stressed and short and tired while they're wondering why I'm a grouch!

  16. Wonderful post! There are few things that we perform in daily routine but rest i need to learn. I think everyone should have to learn these skills to being a perfect and confident human being. Thanks for this valuable resource.


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