Essential Skills for Grown-ups

I am really good at using a wine bottle opener. Yay me!

And another thing I am super-excellent at doing? Parallel parking. That’s right. Pull up beside the car in front of the open space. Back up, turn, back up, turn, and I’m in.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend much time reveling in these accomplishments. But every now and then, I’ll ease a cork from a bottle or my car into a tight space, and I’ll think, Uh-huh. I’m the one who did that.

Back when I was in kindergarten, there was a chart on the wall. All our names were listed down the left-hand column, and across the top were a series of skills we were expected to learn. Tie your shoes. Recite the alphabet. Write your name. Know your address. Whenever you felt ready, you could demonstrate one of the skills to Miss Marcelli. If you succeeded, you got a star sticker in the appropriate column beside your name.

Grown-ups get the equivalent of star stickers for academic accomplishments, and special licenses and certifications affirm our fitness to, say, drive a car, sell real estate or own a gun. But most of the skills we pick up along the way – by watching other people and asking questions, by trial and error, or just from life experience — go largely unnoticed. Unless we notice them.

Distinguish a flower from a weed.
Make small talk with a stranger.
Navigate a public transit system.
Know which battles are worth fighting.
Write a condolence letter.

If there were a Miss Marcelli chart for grown-ups, I’d include all those skills.

What would you add?

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One Response to “Essential Skills for Grown-ups”

  1. Clean Plate Club « Giving Up The Ghost Says:

    […] written here before about that chart on my kindergarten wall, and the stars you earned beside your name for […]

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