My oldest son is in high school. He is attending Prom tonight and that got me thinking back. I remember high school like it was last week, not almost 25 years ago. It’s sad to see that, other than the technology, it hasn’t changed much. Why does everything have to be so coated in D-R-A-M-A? I’m just witnessing it from the other side this go around. I try to tell him, like I would tell my 16-year-old self, that this crap doesn’t matter. Sure it sucks right now, but it, too, shall pass. Here’s what I wish I could tell myself:
1. That boy you’re so wrapped up in…you don’t end up with him anyway. As a matter of fact you don’t end up with anyone you knew in high school. So don’t agonize over them.
2 Pay more attention in English class. Your English teacher, Mrs. B (funnily enough, that doesn’t stand for bitch) is trying to make you hate writing like she hates her life. Don’t listen to her. Your first English Comp professor in college loves your shit!
3. Try a little harder in P.E.. I know you hate to sweat and you don’t want to mess up your hair, but 25 years from now you’re going to be 50+ pounds overweight and at a total loss at how to get into exercise.
4 Speaking of hair, get a hairstyle. You wait and wait for the right time to get a real haircut and just look like shit in a ponytail for the next 20 years.
5. Make more friends. That one girl you’ve hung out with since 8th grade absolutely screws you over senior year! She lies and has tried to cheat with your boyfriend, so what are you losing? She gets you in more trouble than she’s worth. Cut her loose right now!
6. Get into art class. Why don’t you try something new? You’re not that bad at it. Maybe you could turn it into something great.
7. Don’t be so shy. Who cares what people think? After graduation you NEVER see any of them again. Until Facebook…don’t ask.
8. Decide now on some sort of major for college. You will drop out, you will not go back. Have a plan, financial and otherwise. Don’t count on your dad, he drops that ball in a big way.
9. Take more pictures of yourself. You are so cute and so skinny, even though you don’t think so. The few pictures I look back on now make me sick that there is not more of them.
10. Life ain’t fair and sometimes it downright sucks. But the funny thing is, everybody you are surrounded by is going through the same thing you are. You are not alone and different and weird. For some reason no one has the balls to be honest about anything in high school. It all seems like such complicated mind games for no other reason than you’re all just kids and don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Quit taking it all so serious and quit trying to be so grown up and have some more fun. Fun ends soon enough.
So there you have it. All good advice, twenty-five years too late. It isn’t all bad for you, 16-year-old self, just a bit rough until you’re –gasp– thirty. Then you meet the right guy, get married, buy a house, have kids and live, somewhat, happily ever after.