I have just finished reading an article from a columnist by the name of Mia Freedman. I really enjoy reading her pieces and regularly check out her columns in the Sunday Life magazine that comes with The Age newspaper. This particular article centred around the idea of a ‘Life IQ’. As Mia describes it;
“…your Life IQ has nothing to do with your actual IQ. It’s not about the type of intelligence measured by university degrees or MENSA. It’s about being smart at life. Being capable of working things out and getting stuff done. Self-sufficiency and independence come into it. So do street smarts and common sense.”
She assesses the Life IQs of various friends of hers, particularly in the context of their relationships, and discusses the dynamics “when the Life IQ of two people in a relationship is dramatically different”, and then goes on to consider her own Life IQ, concluding that her marriage has caused her Life IQ to go down a bit. She admits to knowing “nothing about [their] cars, where they’re serviced or when their rego is due” but then praises her knowledge of her “children’s medical histories”.
So this got me thinking, what is my Life IQ?
Mia stresses the importance of independence in her article, and writes that “long-term cohabitation can push your Life IQ down”. In this regard, I suppose I lose major points. Being only 18 years old, I have never been independent from my parents and I am living at home. In fact, this coming weekend my parents are going away and my younger sister and I are staying in town for various engagements – and this presents the first time we will stay in the house alone, without any form of baby- or young adult-sitter. On the other hand, the fact that I have advanced to the stage that my parents will comfortably leave me in charge of the house and my younger sister may mean I am slowly gaining more IQ points.
So, am I capable of “working things out and getting stuff done”? Well, this is a mixed bag. In some situations, I am able to problem solve and be resourceful and sort things out for myself. As I’ve mentioned before, last year as part of a leadership position at school a friend and I put together an entire trivia night for charity. Everything from sorting out prizes to writing questions to organising tables – the two of us did it, and the night was a huge success. It did not go smoothly, however. We encountered many an obstacle on the way but all were dealt with in a way that I consider to be very capable and mature. But in other cases I can be completely useless. One of our pet chickens died a few months back and, being the only person at home at the time, I had to deal with its body. However, this was not a task I could deal with by myself and I made at least five or six phone calls to my mother – receiving simple instructions one-by-one, completing them and calling back for more. Open cage. Lift out chicken. Put in box. etc.
As for self-sufficiency, I’m not too bad. I have just started a new job and am currently working full-time until Uni starts, so I have an income. I have my license and my own car, the on-road costs of which I cover myself. I can cook (and by that I actually mean ‘cook’, not just ‘reheat’ or ‘defrost’ or ‘make-into-a-toasted-sandwich’) and I can clean, granted I can be a bit lazy about it. If I had to, I could make do on my own. Not that I have any plans of testing that out just yet.
Street smarts and common sense. Now, these are areas I’d like to think I am quite strong in. I can make some stupid calls on occasion, but on the whole I consider myself a very practical, reasonable and sensible person (doesn’t that just sound like a barrel of laughs!). I can catch public transport successfully, my sense of direction isn’t very broad but is reasonably accurate and I am able to get on with and work with a variety of people.
So what’s my Life IQ? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But whilst I may not be an inductee into the MENSA of Life, I don’t think I’m doing too badly.