HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: Fellow adults, please learn these life-skills


Haji Mohamed Dawjee

210 days ago
HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: Fellow adults, please learn these life-skills Image: Tanja-Denise Schantz on Pixabay


The more I move through the world, the more I realise how totally inept adults are at behaving like adults. And I’m not talking about decorum, or general table behaviour or simple things like “don’t talk with your mouth full” or “eat with your mouth closed”.

Because gosh, I don’t know, maybe you were raised by wolves, but since you’re here now, busy being an adult as a human, you need to really get cracking on some serious skills that can make life so much easier, for all of us.

Here are my top three suggestions:

Parallel parking. If you got your licence when you were 18, I am very happy for you because it means you passed the parallel parking portion of the examination, but for some reason, once the exam was done, you didn’t retain that information. I don’t know what goes through people’s heads when it comes to parallel parking. Do you just not get enough practice? Is there never a reason to? Do you convince yourself you can avoid this for the rest of your life? Because you can’t. You just absolutely have to know how to do it, so please, take a couple of hours each Saturday and go for a lesson and save your car and the rest of us from the stress of trying not to hit it because half its rear end is in the middle of a very narrow road.

Doing your taxes. Okay, I will be fair with this one, I honestly believe that instead of complicated math as the years progress, doing your taxes should be offered as a subject in school. But it isn’t. You will not believe how many adults who have been working for a very, very long time have no idea about taxes. Here are a few tips guys: you have to pay them, you have to pay them every year and yes, you can get help if it’s far too complex for you (which again, I get, it can be overwhelming) by using an accountant or just a quick tax stop-shop vibe, or even just going to a SARS office. You won’t believe how many people I know who don’t even have a tax number to begin with. How are you sleeping at night?

Getting out of the way. Did you know, as an adult, you are not invisible, you are not made of thin air? You are made of like a billion tiny particles that all come together and form the mass that is your body. You take up space. Also, you have eyes. Why aren’t you using them? You also have a brain. Why aren’t you using that? Toddlers aren’t the ones destroying our shopping experience when we have to go get groceries. It’s adults. In fact, toddlers are surprisingly good at getting out the way. But in the middle of an aisle, of every aisle, hallway and passage that exists in the world in the public vicinity, you will find an adult who is not looking where they’re going, walking into you, expecting you to move out the way like it’s a game of bumper cars. Or just standing there, in the middle of everything, not paying attention to the fact that other people are also using that space. Is this a hand-eye co-ordination problem or just downright thickness? Whatever the problem is, please fix it. Watch a YouTube tutorial. Go to the gym and practice skipping out the way or something and make it a habit in your daily life, I don’t know. Just please look where you’re going, or… standing.

Now, there are plenty of things I don’t know how to do. But really, part of being an adult is finding out. Even if wolves did raise you and you chew with your mouth open or talk with it full – you can find out that that’s not okay.

As for the stuff listed above, maybe you can’t do it yourself and maybe we need night classes or something. But honestly. Pick your hard. Because it’s harder to not do your taxes and face being imprisoned than to stand in that SARS queue for however long. And it’s easier to take some parallel parking lessons than it is to deal with insurance and getting your car fixed. Oh, you know about insurance, right?

Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author of 'Sorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa'. Follow her on Twitter.

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This article first appeared on EWN : HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: Fellow adults, please learn these life-skills

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