Some wisdom from Wil Wheaton's blog:
Don’t let yourself get caught up in popularity contests. When you care about winning a popularity contest, or maintaining some kind of popular status, you make pleasing other people more important than being true to yourself.
One of the keys to happiness is not caring about popularity contests, or worrying about what THEY will think. THEY don’t know anything about who you are inside, THEY don’t care about who you are when you wake up terrified in the middle of the night, or struggle just to get to the end of the day. THEY aren’t worth your time and energy, so don’t put your sense of self worth and control of your happiness into their hands.
Be kind. Be honest. Work hard. Speak up. Be honorable. Be silly. Be you.
There's a swear-ier version in his actual blog post: this is a copy and paste of his revised version, posted in the same blog entry for the benefit of (and at the request of) educators.
See, **this** is the sort of thing you realize in your 40s and late-30s. It is **good** to be middle-aged: you know who you are, and (hopefully!) you're OK with it. :)