Dear Baby Girl,
I want you to know high school is not the end-all-be-all.
No, I don’t mean the school part. School and studying are important. Pay attention in school. Yes, it might be boring and you might think it’s pointless, but down the road, you’ll wish you’d worked harder. Go to college, even if it’s for a degree you are not quite sure what to do with. Once you leave school, it’s terribly difficult to go back and the day will come when it’s not really a possibility anymore and you’ll really wish you’d gone and graduated when you had the chance.
Okay, now that I’ve said that and made that qualification, the rest of high school — the “social part” — is NOT as important as the world would like you to think and as the movies would have you believe.
If you watch and follow movies and television and all that good stuff, if your “high school experience” isn’t perfect — if you don’t go to the best parties, have the most popular friends, join the “right” clubs, attend all the sporting events and, in general, be “perfect and popular” — your life will never be fulfilling and you will be miserable.
This is not true. In fact, if high school is “the best four years of your life”, you probably have a problem.
Not everyone can be the most popular girl in school. There’s only one and, to be honest, odds are stacked against everyone. Most people won’t be that person.
And that’s okay. To be honest, she’s probably not the happiest person in the world. Popularity, or trying for it, can be a very time consuming thing and tends to put you under a microscope for everyone else to just rip apart. You don’t want that. Trust me, you don’t.
It’s okay to not want to go to parties. It’s okay to not want to be friends with everyone. It’s okay to want to sit in the corner with your nose in a book and really not care about the silly politics of high school hierarchy.
It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to be a “smart kid” and get good grades. It’s okay to skip football games or basketball games if they bore you (but it’s also okay to go to every one if you’re interested!)
If you are in a group or club that goes on a trip, it’s okay to not go because it’s expensive, or to not go purely because you just don’t want to or feel like it. It’s okay not to like everyone.
It’s okay if some people aren’t your friends. Not everyone in the world likes everyone else, sometimes — a lot of the times — for no real reason other than, well, they just don’t. It happens. It’s okay. Don’t sweat it and just enjoy those people you do like, you do have ful with and you do care about. Those are your real friends. Don’t worry about the others.
Believe it or not, high school is a lot of people trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and how to reconcile such things with reality. People who peak in high school (those for who “the best four years of your life” is true) are generally not going to be happy and well-adjusted adults.
I would rather be happy as an adult than have that “perfect” high school experience and be miserable once I’m older. I hope you can be a happy adult.
If you are popular in high school, that’s fine. If you are one of those people who is friends with everyone and goes to parties and sporting events and all that stuff and that makes you happy (as long as you keep up with your grades), that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it and I will support you.
But if you are anything like me, there will be something in your mind very early in high school that says “that’s not what I want. I want to sit over there, read a book and not give a sh*t”.
That’s okay, Baby Girl. I will be in your corner and behind you. I wish I’d realized at 13 that it was okay to not be popular and I would much rather sit in the corner being a book worm than try to fit into a world I just didn’t exactly belong to. I would have been much happier, then and, probably, now.
It took me a long time to get out of and away from the things I tried to train into my brain in those four years. I don’t want that, or anything like it, for you. Ever.
I want better for you. You deserve better. You don’t deserve that.
Be what you want to be, Baby Girl, and I will love you. Don’t let them put you down or get under your skin. Be who you want to be and do what you want to do and you’ll be much happier.
Trust me on that one.