Sunday, March 11, 2018

The "Just you wait" phenomenon

My first experience with a Just You Wait-er occurred when I was a senior in high school. I had accepted an award for exceptional grades when a familiar adult commented, "Just you wait until you go to University. You won't have the top marks there!"

My exposure to Just You Wait-ers increased in my 20's. I recall dancing in my mini-skirt, serving beer at my summer job, and being confronted by an older woman who snarled, "Just you wait until you have kids. You'll never have a body like this again!" I also remember jumping for joy upon receiving a dozen roses from Evan, only to feel deflated by an observer who grunted, "Just you wait until you get married. The flowers will stop." 

The Just You Wait-ers continue to haunt me today. An online support group for those suffering from Osteochondritis Dissecans is trolled by Just You Wait-ers. After explaining that I was struggling to find a balance of pain medications before surgery, a Just You Wait-er chimed in, "You think you have pain now? Just you wait until after surgery."

This is the phenomenon I'd like to call "Attack of the Just You Wait-ers." The Just You Wait-ers are everywhere, at every turn, just waiting to burst your bubble and stomp on your hopes and dreams . Whether you are revelling in a new success or floundering and seeking support, the Just You Wait-ers are lurking, ready to drag you down to their depths of despair, causing you to feel like total shit with one simple phrase, "Just you wait." Do you know these people? Just You Wait-ers are generally unhappy and insecure people who feel empowered by causing fear and uncertainty in others.
The Just You Wait-ers, whilst donning  a smug smirk on their face, thrive on warning threatening you with their knowledge that life is about to get much worse for you. Oh yes, much much worse. Just you wait. 

You think this is bad? Just you wait!

Now that I'm weeeellllll into my 30's (I still refuse to use the adjective "late" in front of 30's), I have observed the Just You Wait-ers in their glory, at their peak of their Just You Wait-ness. You see, the Just You Wait-ers flourish during the child-bearing and child-rearing years. Nothing causes a Just You Wait-er more joy than letting an expectant/new mom know that things are going to get worse. Much much worse. Time and time again at baby showers, brunches, and birthday bashes, I have heard the loud indignant Just You Wait-er exclaim: 

"You think you can't sleep now? Just you wait until you have newborn!"

"Better enjoy the freedom now. Just you wait until he's walking. You will never sit again."

"You think she's defiant now? Just you wait until she's a teenager and hates your face."

Ugh. Why? Now I am not a mother, but I can only imagine that entering motherhood must be a terrifying and daunting experience for many women. I observe that my new Mom friends are uncertain, often seeking advice, support, and reassurance from someone with a kind heart and experience. At this stage in life a woman is vulnerable, not to mention hormonal. Why on Earth would someone think that it is OK to threaten another human during such a challenging time? And, let's be honest, that is exactly what "just you wait" is. It's a threat. 

So here's some advice from a passive aggressive non-confrontational person: Cut the Just Wait-ers loose. Just stay away. If you are the confrontational type, you could also respond, "This is not helpful," followed by a giant shove, and perhaps a few kicks to the knees. (Jokes. Knees are precious). Life is too short to surround yourself with people who build themselves up by pulling others down. Seek out the empathetic and supportive friends who will listen, celebrate, commiserate, and kindly offer advice when needed. 

I would also like to propose that it is possible to turn the Just You Wait Phenomenon into something positive. Observe:

"You think you are excited now? Just wait until you hold that baby in your arms for the first time!"

"Just you wait until that surgery is over. You will feel such relief!"

"I can see that you are tired. Just you wait until he's sleeping through the night. It will get better."

"Falling in love is wonderful. Just you wait until you are married and get to spend everyday with that person!"

Got it? Rant over. 

Cheers my friends!

Oprah for President! ;)

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