Our generation is pretty awesome — not to mention pretty dang smart (dusts off shoulder). According to U.S. News, more high school students are taking advanced placement classes and scoring higher than ever. And Millennials are the most college-educated generation in history, according to the Pew Research Center. But we’ve skipped one major lesson in our school of awesomeness: basic survival skills. And, no, peeling the plastic off TV dinners doesn’t count, people.
A 2014 survey conducted by the University of Missouri found Millennials have significantly less ability to repair buttons, sew, and hem than their parents and grandparents. Why is that a problem? Well, besides the fact that we’ll be out of luck when Forever 21 shuts down during a zombie apocalypse, textiles made up 5.7% of U.S. solid waste in 2012; that means our inability to sew actually costs a lot more than our hard-earned paychecks. Tossing out outfits and packing closets with new ones means more landfills, more methane, and more global warming. But our inability to wield a needle and thread is just the beginning.
Get lost. More than two-thirds of young adults under 25 can’t read a map, according to a survey by myvouchercodes.co.uk of nearly 2,000 drivers. We’re at the mercy of satellite navigation, and 83% of respondents said they have systems in their cars (and yes, drivers often blame their faulty global positioning systems for making them steer into rivers).
Burning water. A whopping 60% of 18- to 25-year-olds leave home without knowing how to cook five simple dishes, according to an Eblex survey, and more than half (ages 18 to 24) don’t know how to boil an egg, according to the Daily Mail.
Hands off. When it comes to technology and iAnything, we’re a handy pack of troubleshooters. But a leaky sink? Nope. According to the Daily Mail, eight out of 10 young adults have never
changed the oil in their cars, and two-thirds don’t even know how to put shelves up. Instead of fixing things, we’re more likely to break ’em and toss ’em or we pay someone else to do our dirty work.
Aside from filling landfills with our broken crap (sorry, Mother Earth), being a consumer and never a builder is expensive — insanely expensive. According to the Daily Mail, lacking these life skills costs around $2,200 a year and more than $130,000 over a life-time. (Yes, you read that right.)
What’s more, we’re adults who still run to Mom and Dad a lot. We want to grow up, but we need to learn the practical skills to lead self-sustaining lives. Knowing how to mow our own yards, change our own flat tires, mend our own clothes, and cook our own food won’t only save us cash and landfill guilt; it will make us less dependent on others, more helpful to people in need, and prepared for any emergency — whether it’s a depression, war, power outage, national disaster, or zombie apocalypse.
Because let’s face it: Our repartee is clever, but it won’t kill zombies. It’s time to get smarter.