Karate Belts of Adulthood

I’ve never taken classes in karate, or tae kwon do, or… jujube, but one thing I know about these courses is that the participants grunt a lot, and are generally quite noisy.

Another, and possibly more relevant, thing I know is that these classes have a ranking/award system in the way of colorful belts. The newest of newbies wear white belts with their uniforms, and when they accomplish a specific task or test, they move on to a yellow belt, then orange, and so on. Moving on to the next color is something to work toward, a real point of pride.

And by golly, I think adulthood should have a similar system.

If you think about it, karate is sort of a metaphor for adulthood. Like karate, adulthood requires great discipline. Like karate, adulthood is made easier with some flexibility. And like karate, adulthood sometimes involves getting kicked in the face.

With all these similarities, I think we can agree that there should be colorful accessories to award grown-ups when we complete small tasks. When we learn how to get chocolate stains out of white rayon, this effort should be acknowledged. When we figure out how to make a meal out of leftover chicken and day-old orange juice, because it’s all we have left in the fridge and we can’t afford more groceries until Thursday – we should move up a level.

Now, I could spend time trying to come up with an original award system of my own, but the colorful belts are a tried-and-true method, and like the late, great Socrates said – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I picture the Adulthood Belt System looking a little something like this:



How I earned my orange belt


How I earned my blue belt
Note: not having access to a baby’s or animal’s feces doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting a brown belt – as long as you’re theoretically willing to clean it up.



What other tasks do you think should be considered in the Adulthood Belt System? Have you arrived at Black Belt status, or do you still struggle with the whole bran-muffin-over-donut thing?

20 thoughts on “Karate Belts of Adulthood

  1. First of all, yes. Yes, to cheese.

    Secondly, there should be a build up from white to black in each category.

    1. Surviving Getting Dumped by Friend/Peer Group
    2. Surviving Getting Fired by Assholean Boss
    3. Surviving Brutal Breakup with Narcissistic Significant Other of 5+ Years

    1. Self-Treating Bedridden Illness Without Junk Food
    2. Self-Treating Roaring Hangover Without Facebook Report
    3. Self-Treating Existential Depression Without Therapy or Drugs

    1. Talking Your Way Out of Being a Bridesmaid
    2. Talking Your Way Out of Ticket From Police
    3. Talking Your Way Out of Giving Up

    1. Dining in Public Solo
    2. Going on Vacation Solo
    3. Going Without Makeup Daily


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this so, so much! You’re a genius, and you have me thinking that I might re-do this post, or perhaps just add a “follow-up” post. I like that because while I may be black belt status in some areas (surviving a relationship with a narcissist, for example), I still haven’t quite figured out how to talk my way out of being a bridesmaid, getting a ticket, or anything else.

      To add to your outline, when it comes to solving a crisis without help, orange belt might mean figuring it out without your mother, but a black belt would be doing without consulting the Internet! Ha! Brilliant comment.


      1. Thank you. The consulting of the internet is a tricky one, though, because it can be used for good and evil.


        1. Found correct spelling online
        2. Read entire Terms and Agreement on credit card’s website
        3. Used You Tube how-to video to build chair


        1. Cured wart without WebMD
        2. Spent Friday evening without Netflix
        3. Closed Facebook account


      2. Meh, I do it all the time. All you have to do is get to the root cause–not physically, but mentally and emotionally. Clear THAT stress up and you’d be surprised how many things just fade away on their own without a two-hour visit to a doctor and his prissy little notepad.


    1. Aw man, I’m sorry to hear that. I think all of us probably fluctuate on our belt status depending on the day or situation, but the blue belt is the one spot you really don’t want to have to return to. Have you made queso-chili hot dogs yet? Perhaps that might help.


      1. Well, I’m quitting so I can move and go to school, so kind of my fault this time, but hopefully when I’m done I’ll move up to another belt. And hopefully the new place will have cheese.


  2. Steve

    Going off your criteria I’m officially a black belt. My question is, does this give me the right to punch people in the face that I feel need it? I promise to only use this power for the good of humanity, or to get me through my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, a black belt in karate certainly entitles you to go around punching people (clearly, I know so much about that activity). By that logic, I’m pretty sure that a black belt in adulthood would give you the same privilege.

      Just don’t punch me, okay? As the creator of this system, I’m immune.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Arrgg, just found this one in my spam folder! I “un-spammed” you, so hopefully it won’t happen again!

      Anyway, you SHOULD be proud of your belt status, because it’s something to be super proud of! It’s one thing to solve crises or change diapers on a regular basis, but giving up poptarts and other breakfast treats in exchange for bran is a whole different thing. Kudos to you!


  3. Pingback: Responding to Others: Reblog someone else’s blog you DON’T agree with and explain why. “Karate Belts of Adulthood” — Just in Queso | Ms. Hooper's 21st C. Communications Blog

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