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You've probably heard that old saying that people get wiser with age, but it turns out that supposed wisdom doesn't mean that being an adult becomes any easier. We have all been lied to!
Sure, there were people who told us to enjoy being kids because being an adult includes more responsibilities, but those same people told us they knew this because they were adults and "adults know best".
If the recent political climate has taught us anything, then we know that these so-called "adults" aren't adulting particularly well at all. They make fun of our generation and the generation after us for not being able to be mature adults (which arguably is true for the generation after ours because eating Tide Pods is ridiculous) when in fact they aren't being mature adults either.
The adults who have told us for our entire lives that they know more because they are more experienced, have been covering up the fact that they have no idea what they are doing either. There is literally a franchise called "...for Dummies" that has been around since 1991 and I wasn't even alive yet so that books aren't meant for me. I know that older generations aren't supposed to know everything, but I also know that it is unfair for them to judge the way we are coming into our own. We are a generation that is changing the world in an entirely new way through social media, technology, and through the movement towards a more accepting society so I think maybe the adults who are telling us that we aren't "doing it right" should sit down and watch us.
We aren't the perfect example of adults and we do stupid things and we mess up, but we are adults who are struggling just as much as the adults before us did and still are. I sincerely hope that we don't turn to the generations after us with the same pompous attitude that the previous generations have met us with.
To future generations and to my own, we still can learn from our elders and each other, but we should not feel as if we are failing at growing up because we reach some bench-marked-age and we are still struggling. Adulting is hard for everyone and we are just getting started so keep on keeping on and we will hopefully figure this whole "life" thing out eventually.
We were both new kids at school that year. Do you remember walking into a class of 10 sixth graders who’d known each other since preschool? They all sat behind us since we were given seats in the first row, right in front of the teacher’s desk.
I’m not sure why they picked you instead of me. I don’t know why it was you they made fun of, excluded, rejected. But I do know why I did nothing. I wanted to be liked. I thought if I stood up for you then they would despise me. That shouldn’t have mattered — treating you with respect was more important than all that. But I did nothing.
Then one day I did worse than nothing. Remember those weird locker rooms, where the wall dividing the boys room from the girls room didn’t reach the ceiling, so you could talk freely with people on the other side? One afternoon all the girls began loudly explaining to “each other” all the reasons they thought you were lame, knowing you could hear every word.
And then M walked up to me and asked, “What about you, Evangeline, what do you think about W?” It was silent in the locker room. I inwardly panicked, wondering how to get out of the situation. I could disappoint these girls, or I could throw you under the bus. I honestly didn’t want to do either. “Well, do you think he’s cool or not?” I had to decide, and I decided you weren’t worth it.
“No. I don’t think he’s cool.” Those were my words. Immediately, triumphant chatter filled the locker rooms again, listing off all your many faults. I had fed the fire — what could have happened if I’d stood up to them? At least there would have been two of us. You wouldn’t have been alone facing the cruelty of humanity manifesting itself that day through that sixth-grade class.
Recently I've been upset at gross global injustices like human trafficking and war and genocide. But at its center, injustice is one person deciding that someone else is not worth being treated well. This is the same decision I made about you…
I am sorry. What I did, both standing by and then siding against you, was wrong and awful.
You left our school half-way through the year. I pray that wherever you went next, you found kind people and close friends. I pray that you forgot about those five months, and never think of them now. If you do remember, please forgive me.