This one’s for the children. It’s a post dedicated to those who will one day be making the laws that govern us, businesses that consume us, and care that we will need to rely on. So, go ahead. Get your kids. I’ll wait.
Hello, fellow kids. How is the TikTok and Twitching? Good? Great. So, look, it’s time you hear some brutal and honest advice. We, as adults, have been slowly sugar-coating our outlook for decades and, if you know our backgrounds, you’d know why. As part of an emotionally stunted generation with harsh self-esteem issues, we have worked diligently to show you that you – yes, you – are special. We want you to have confidence and determination. We also, however, tend to overdo it in some areas. That’s what this is all about. So, grab a pencil… if that’s even still a thing. No? A smartboard, maybe? Fine grab a smartboard, an etch-a-sketch, and a Flipgrid. These are kind of important to remember.
Sometimes the bully isn’t more afraid of you than you are of him.
Honestly, that barely makes sense and I’m not too sure why we tell you that. You know who the bully is afraid of? The kid he doesn’t bully or, in some cases, the kid he bullies the least. If you’re getting picked on, it’s because this person thinks they can defeat you either physically, mentally, or socially. While it is important to stand up for yourself, know that just because you backed down doesn’t mean you walked away from an underdog story that could have changed your life. That’s a TV thing. In a real life thing, chances are, you wouldn’t have landed a sweet punch or stinging comeback that sent the school into a standing ovation. There’s a good chance you may have gotten pantsed and pushed down the stairwell outside the gym. Think rationally and don’t beat yourself up over decisions that may have been best for you in the long run.
People who don’t like you aren’t always “jealous” of you.
Sometimes they just don’t like you. Maybe it’s your face. Maybe it’s your personality. Maybe it’s your name (eg: “I had an Uncle Simon who used to beat me with a stick. I hate you, Simon.”). Still, parents will insist that it’s because of how wonderful you are. Its great for your self-esteem to hear that the world is just jealous. I totally get that. The giant football player who gets all the girls and drives a Lexus? He’s totally jealous of you and your sweet purple scooter. See? Feel good? Splendid. Now forget it. He’s not jealous. He just doesn’t like you because you eat tuna out of the can during homeroom. Stop.
That popular kid who terrorized you won’t necessarily pay for it later.
He might not fall on hard times or be a joke by 40. You can’t rely on karma to make everything better. Sometimes that bully to kids grows up to be a bully to grownups. The cycle just continues. Sure, some end up going from the top of the popularity charts to the bottom of the barrel, but many don’t. That snotty rich kid who made fun of your pants in eighth grade? Twenty years later, he’s probably still going to be rich. The closest bit of karmic solace you can take is that personalities like theirs eventually end up eating themselves from the inside. The angry among us create worlds around them of distrust and aggression. When they get older, that’s all they have. And that is the karma. You, however, won’t see it when what goes around comes around. If it comes around at all, it happens behind closed doors. You can’t count on grabbing popcorn to watch your enemies eventually falter to get you through your youth.
You’re not soft.
Some of your loudest representatives online are. Log into Twitter and watch people try to cancel Oreos and happiness and you’ll see why some grownups are under the impression that you guys are coddled. As a whole, you’re not. You live the life your parents gave you and, after the free-wheeling 80s, society clamped down on your freedoms. Sure, adults today like to claim that we went out until the streetlights came on and we all turned out fine. Those claiming that fact did turn out fine. The ones who didn’t aren’t around to speak their side because they got snatched or sold or worse. That’s why the rules changed. Parents tried to protect you, but that doesn’t mean you’re not capable of protecting yourself. You’re tougher than you think.
All things happen to all people.
Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. The person who went through a horrific tragedy didn’t fill out a form to prove their moral stance before the universe punished them. It just happened. One day normal, the next day devastated. The same can be said for the family that hit the lottery. Everything is normal until it’s not. You will go through things that you didn’t feel you deserved – both positive and negative.
No one cares about your excuses.
You experience this the first time you prepare a mini-speech for your shift manager about why you have to go home early. You mention grandma and the sick dog and even the house fire your uncle had a year ago, all hoping this sob story will get you the time off. Your manager’s response is apathetic at most and cold at worst. Why? Because who knows what he has going on later? Maybe he goes home and gets locked in a box filled with rats until bedtime while the neighbors take turns spitting on him. Your grandma story, while probably emotional in a heart-to-heart setting with friends, if it’s even true, means nothing to him. All he knows is you can’t stay until five and he’s rolling his eyes as you detail poor grandma’s labored breathing. It will make you mad, but only if you go in expecting a hug and an edible arrangement.
You will never succeed without trying.
Honestly, you could spend years working for something. and never “make it”. That’s possible. However, you definitely won’t “make it”, if you don’t work for something at all. You can apply to 500 jobs and never get called for an interview. But if you apply to 0 jobs, you definitely will never get called for an interview. That’s the only guarantee in these situations. People rarely find you in order to offer a step-up. It’s up to you to find them. Life is about circumstances and, often, you have to make your own circumstances. Pushing towards the goal is part of that process.
Be strong but don’t be difficult.
Don’t yell at service people who have no control over whether a rental care corporation that pays them next to nothing gives you back a refund on the Toyota that stalled. Don’t dismiss waiters who have nothing to do with TGIFridays decision to discontinue “Mushrooms, Steak, and Mushroom” and can easily spit all over your food if given a reason. Don’t fight with yours kid’s teachers unless absolutely necessary only to send your kids in there alone to face the music on Monday. Don’t lose your parental mind over a fourth grade soccer game while surrounded by your community. You’re not a spectacle. You’re a person. Just be cool.
Look, all this is doable and you can do it. This adult thing isn’t as hard as it seems, but then again it seems impossible. Truth be told, it can get pretty bumpy. The less shocking revelations you encounter in real-time, the better. It helps more if you hear it here than twenty years from now, think to yourself, “I bet that biker in the alley with a spiked baseball bat is more afraid of me than I am of him. I’m going to go tell him to turn his music down.”
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(JG Note: For those who don’t know, I am the new Breaking News Analyst and a writer at BabyGaga.com, a site dedicated to pregnancy and new parents. From research studies to Chrissy Teigan, I’ve been covering it all. Please check it out and bookmark my author’s page at this link to see everything that I have been working on.)