My parents were absent for much of my childhood, and I have been estranged from my family for years. I've been fully independent since my late teens, but I still learn best by example and rote memorization, and I did not really have anyone to learn from. I've built what I think is a good life, but I am still lacking a lot of practical information. What sort of resources are available for people in this position to figure out what they've missed and get themselves unstuck? Is there a book, checklist, or set of guidelines that I could use? Something like
Some things I am hoping to be able to learn, preferably in a straightforward educational format:
* What is retirement? I know I'll have to work until I die, can I safely ignore everything everyone says about retirement?
* What is a pension, and why does my company keep telling me I have one when I never signed up for it?
* What is a 401(k) for, if I do not expect to retire? I've had one for years, do I need to do anything with it beside put money in?
* How much time should an average working adult spend volunteering? What percentage of their salary should be donated to charity?
* What are powers of attorney, living wills, etc.? Can I just call any lawyer in the phone book and say, "Listen, I need to make sure that no one I am related to can access any of my assets after I die. Please help me take care of this?"
* Who is in charge of your medical decision-making if you are incapacitated before you are able to talk to a lawyer (or whatever)? What is the terminology I need to use to change this?
* What do I need to be aware of in terms of physical changes/issues that come with getting older, and more specifically the aging process as it affects women -- mammograms, menopause, hot flashes, etc.? I will not be having children. Other than that, it is all a mystery to me.
I've tried reading books about parentless children/motherless daughters, but most are geared toward orphans and people mourning parents who have passed away, rather than people born to parents who are profoundly unwell and thus simply unable to act in a parental role. I can identify very strongly with the stories here
, particularly the feeling of being rudderless and, most saliently, having "gaping holes in my understanding of how I was supposed to handle things."
Resources like Adulting
are not what I need -- I already know how to clean my house, pay my bills, and stock my pantry. I know how to survive; the problem is that's all
I know. What I'm trying to find is more like Beyond Adulting: How to Suck It Up and Get It Done Mentally, Physically, Socially, and Professionally
or Fuck Yes, I Can Feed Myself. What Now?: An Operator's Manual
. Does such a thing exist?
Are there tools, resources, or studies I can use to help identify what I don't know but need to, which outmoded or inaccurate ideas I can abandon, and what I need to investigate further now and later in life? Search terms would be very helpful; my Google-fu is usually quite strong, but it has failed me in this instance. Basically, where do formally uneducated people raised without reliable adult supervision learn how to be reliable adults and create strong futures for themselves? I know it isn't purely intuitive, so is there somewhere I can start digging in? (Yes, I have a therapist. Everyone should have one! Go out and get yourself a therapist today!)
Thanks very much for any information you might be able to provide.