The Other Thing About Growing Up

Maybe it was the old farmer neighbor who hung out at the back of your grandpa’s pickup chatting in the evenings. Maybe it was your parents, annoyed at yet another of your trivial woe-is-me-if-only-you-knew-how-hard-it-is-to-be-me-as-a-teenager crises. Maybe it was The Wonder Years. However the information came about, there were certain things you learned you would miss about being a kid.

Watching cartoons, eating as many Smarties and Ding Dongs as you could stand, not forcing yourself to eat only low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple and Tab. Not having to pay bills. Blah blah blah.

Then there were the marketers, scaring the bujeezus out of you about growing old. You know, how unwanted you’ll become with wrinkles and those awful gray strands. I’m not sure if it was the ads during Hee Haw, The Grand Ol’ Opry or Murder She Wrote that taught me about the impending need for Depends and denture adhesives. (What. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.)

Of course us savvy girls of the 80s were a step ahead of these things, knowing exactly what we were getting into by growing up.

  • We knew we needed to look good, and were on the ball with our Fazz and Get in Shape, Girl!.
  • We knew that growing up meant we would be sassy and sophisticated. We already knew about money, thank you very much, Mall Madness.
  • We knew that you had to feed babies, and that they would poop, too, thanks to Baby Alive.
  • And Babysitters Club books taught us about diabetes.

Yes, we were prepared for anything that would come at us in our grown-up middle class lives. Except for one thing.

No one warned us about this time in our adult life: when you realize what an IDIOT you were as a kid. When you have your Liz Lemon flashback to a time you thought the other kids were mean to you when it was really you who were the socially inept jerk. And the moment that follows when you realize that those people have moved on with their lives, have forgotten about you (unless you really eff-ed up) and probably have no reason to friend you on Facebook to see how far you’ve come and how, if you were in the same town, you really would like to get together and see what they’re up to and demonstrate that you are waaay cooler and in tune than you were 20 years ago.  Even 10 years ago, that one time at that bar, when you didn’t say Hi because you thought they didn’t recognize you.

Um, yeah. You sucked. But you’ll get over it. Maybe you’ll make the next class reunion and do a better job at your 2,165th interaction.

If you happen to be Facebook friends with one of those people (you know, the ones that think I’m an asshat) (and I know there’s a good chance you’re one of the dozens – DOZENS – of friends we have in common), please share this link.

And if I haven’t caught up with you since high school (or middle school, or elementary school, but not preschool, where I would have learned how to play well with others, had I gone)… whatcha been up to?

If you aren’t in my yearbooks… what would you tell your teenage self to do differently?


2 thoughts on “The Other Thing About Growing Up

  1. Spend more time finding morel mushrooms and hanging out in your old shed/ garage looking at cool antique stuff. Thanks Lynn!

  2. They’re all pretending to know what’s going on, at least as much as you do.

    Eat green things like pesto. Don’t make fun of grandpa. That girl you like, the one with leg warmers who’s moving to Washington next week, say ‘Hi!’

    Don’t pretend to brood. That doesn’t make you more interesting.

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