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10 Ways To Grow Up
Are you ready to declare your independence? You can be a fab, free woman with this 10-step program!

1. Get organized!

Before you start planning your years, get into the habit of planning your hours. To paraphrase essayist Annie Dillard, how we spend our minutes is effectively how we spend our lives. Living without a schedule is like going on a road trip without a map. Unless you’re fine ending up in the middle of nowhere, you can’t just go out and drive, taking the first turn that appeals to you. So much of our lives is whittled away by idle moments and time wasted because of missed turns. Blink and you’re at your half-life point with less than half of the to-dos of your life checked off. Make sure you’ve noted all the important turning points in your life’s roadmap—classy and leather-bound, pink and flowery, sleek and electronic, it’s up to you—to get to your destination, with the occasional detour on Sundays for a spur-of-the-moment adventure with friends.

Now grab your pen and planner and get to it. Start by inking in an appointment to…

 

2. Take charge of your healthcare!

Your body is your own, not your mom’s. So why does she hold your medical records and choose your doctors? If you’re still going to the same doctor who slapped your bum at your first breath, it’s about time you cut the cord. A growing girl’s body is a complex and wonderful thing that needs expert and tender care. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable discussing the abnormalities of your last period or that strange zit on your face with mom’s doctor friend from college. (She just might gab about it with your mom over their next lunch with the ladies.) Don’t be scared to shop around. Your body is your most precious possession; why would you entrust it to anyone less than a friend? Start building a relationship now, and you’ll have someone to hold your hand through your first whitehead to your latest wrinkle, from menstrual problems to menopausal fits.

Passing the time in the clinic waiting room is inevitable; wasting time waiting for Manong driver to pick you up (after he picks up your mom and each of your three brothers) is avoidable. Hike over from doctor’s office to driving school and…

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3. Get licensed to drive!

You’ve seen the ads: the cars driven by carefree, young beauties cruising down long, empty roads through fields and fantasy (which is what a traffic-free Manila street is). Driving evokes feelings of freedom with good reason. When you wield the wheel, you say when, where, and how fast you go. If that doesn’t spell independence, then think about this: drive, by its very definition, means a “strong organized effort to accomplish a purpose.” Your drive has to come from you. Would you really want to depend on Daddy your whole life to make sure you get from point A to point B, from daydream to done deal? With everywhere in Manila a mere pedal push away—volleyball practice in Makati, study group at Katipunan, dinner with friends in Alabang—the key to anything you want to accomplish should be in your hands. Ready to drive yourself to another major step towards maturity?

Go and...

4. Open a bank account.

Your Hannah Montana piggy bank is fine, if you’re seven and your finances are round, shiny, and expendable. But you’re a big girl now, with (hopefully) larger sums at your disposal, perhaps a part-time job as well to put a little padding in your purse. You need a big girl’s bank to stash your cash—preferably some place you can’t raid every time a “Sale” storm hits town (it’s an “emergency” fund, true, but last minute fashion disasters don’t count). Taking charge of your money makes you more aware of how you spend your money and how much you have saved, both essential info for when you’re planning for big-ticket purchases later on: your own car, a summer class in New York, front row seats when Justin Timberlake takes his Asian tour.

You’ll also need this first step in personal finance to…

5. Pay your bills.

Maybe Mom and Dad won’t mind you living in their house rent-free when you’re 30. You sure won’t mind, you can always put your would-be rent money to good use—at the spa, the salon, the shoe store. But the more spend-dependent you are now, the harder it will be to say goodbye to your splurging habits later when it’s your name on that credit card bill and your bank statement that’s dangerously dancing on the poverty line. No need for drastic steps like suddenly packing your bags and moving to low-cost housing in Nowhereville. Start small, and tell the ‘rents you’d like to buy your own cell cards or have a post-paid cell phone line in your name. Taking responsibility comes at a cost (bye-bye bi-weekly blowouts), but learning to spend responsibly is priceless.

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Whew! Now that you’re master of your moola, every little cent saved or spent counts. Already regretting that last wad of cash you bid buh-bye to at the mall? You won’t have to if you know how to…


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About the author
Shiloah Matic
Contributing Writer
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