After yet another underwhelming middle school dance, I sulked with my arms crossed on the ride home, uninterested in my mom’s overeager questions about the silly affair. “Where there any cute boys?” she asked me and my friends, prompting eye rolls and annoyed expressions from each of us. She inquired about “cute boys” after every dance, seemingly unaware of the fact that no one had any desire to dance with the likes of us.
“Only the same people we’ve been going to school with for years,” I replied. “We never had a shot with them.”
“When you hit college, they’ll be lining up around the block to take you out. And the kids who bullied you will be fat and stuck.”
“Trust me, they won’t be.”
More than a decade later, my parents ended up being right that we’d grow into our looks and stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and that wasn’t the only thing they correctly predicted. Here are a few signs that your mom and dad were right about everything.
7. For Popular Kids, It Doesn’t Get Better
Jason Headley’s short film says it all. My parents repeatedly tried to tell me this, but it seemed illogical that the folks who thrived so early in life wouldn’t transition into adulthood with ease. As Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive tweeted at Meghan McCain a couple years ago, “Good line from old play M Butterfly: ‘There is no surer formula for failure in life than success in high school.’”
Last year, I had the opportunity to interview Sticks and Stones author Emily Bazelon, who acknowledged that uncool kids sometimes fare better in the real world than their popular counterparts: “[I]t actually makes me feel a little bit bad for the bullies in some ways. These girls have a lot of power now, but this is it for them.”
6. The Cool Kids Really Were Jealous
It’s hard to believe the most beautiful girl in school would be jealous of the class nerd/outcast, but consider the success of adult nerds. If you demonstrate a talent for something useful, creative or interesting at a young age, you tell the world that your life is much richer and bigger than any schoolyard social structure, and that can intimidate children without any unique or defining skills. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Someday I’ll be living in a big old city and all you’re ever going to be is mean.” Chances are, they knew that from the very beginning, hence the nastiness.
5. Your High School Sweetheart Wasn’t Really the Love of Your Life
First love is intoxicating, exciting and terrifying. It can bring you out-of-this-world joy the same day it can seemingly shut down your entire existence. These breakups aren’t fun, but that’s why we have parents to assure us our high school boyfriend probably wasn’t The One anyway. When you’ve never cared for anyone else this much, it’s easy to think Mom and Dad just don’t understand the depth of your relationship or want you to be happy. Come graduation, however, the whole world opens up and you see there are plenty of smart, attractive and appealing young men out there besides your first beau, and suddenly you laugh at your old self the way your parents constantly did.
4. You Lose Touch with Lots of People After High School
It’s not hard to stay in contact with old pals or classmates with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram around, but actually maintaining a relationship takes work, effort and energy. I remember leaving high school thinking I’d be best friends with my entire social circle forever, and though we certainly keep tabs on each other via social media nearly eight years after graduation, we don’t chat as much as we probably would have hoped for in our teens. My parents warned me this would happen but I thought the Internet would change everything. It certainly didn’t change the fact that we’d all have busy, stressful lives and develop new friendships and relationships to live in the present.
3. The Big Man/Cutest Guy on Campus Really Wasn’t Worth Your Time
This isn’t always the case, but my dad always advised me not to obsess over the “cutest boy” in the grade and instead set my sights on quiet, intelligent and soft-spoken types. It seemed like bad advice at the time, but films such as Wolf of Wall Street and American Psycho reiterate the point that attractive bloviators can be really awful people, and if someone is already this way in high school, chances are it’ll carry into adulthood, and that’s not someone you can really grow with.
2. You Start Saying “Because I Said So”
It’s the most arbitrary justification ever, but sometimes the only thing that resonates with stubborn children. I’ve found myself dropping this line during particularly tiring babysitting sessions, and I know I’ll do the same when I become a mother myself.
1. You Thank Them Someday
Growing up, there was almost nothing more annoying than hearing one of my parents say, “You’ll thank me for this someday.” Maybe your parents said it after forbidding you from going to a party, denying you unsupervised visits with your significant other or even sending you to rehab for something that was destroying your life. It eventually becomes clear that they were only looking out for you, and that’s when you thank them for caring enough to act the way they did.
Any others to add? Share in the comments section.