Is it just me, or does anyone else feel old? Pretty soon I’m going to start dying my hair, subtracting five years from my age and power walking at the mall on Sunday mornings. Every day I get closer and closer to being a grown-up, and I don’t like it.
The other day I was visiting my family when I noticed that my cousin was moving his cell phone around like it was one of those plastic, hand-held mazes where you have to get the little silver ball from one end to the other. I was confused until he explained that he was playing a game. Then I was in shock. How did I miss this advance in technology? I was half way through my story about how when I was his age, my cell phone had buttons and one of those greenish-gray screens when I realized that I was a hop, skip and a jump away from walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways.
When did this change happen? When did we start becoming grown-ups, turning into our parents and growing responsible? I miss the days when the only work we had to do was choose an item to bring to show-and-tell the next day. Looking back on it, here are some of the things I would have appreciated more at the time:
Heads-Up Seven-Up. Was this not the greatest game ever invented? Suspense, intrigue and naptime all in one. What could be better than putting your head down on your desk in the middle of school and either taking your own personal hiatus from class or giggling madly while trying to figure out who tagged you? It’s a win-win situation.
Jelly shoes. Hands down the most fabulous things to ever cause so much unnecessary pain. Anyone who has ever worn jelly shoes knows the painful pleasure of blisters from the unyielding plastic and the satisfying discomfort of wearing them in the sticky heat of summer.
Animorphs (or your equivalent). Goosebumps, Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins – whatever your poison, these books provided countless hours of entertainment. Now I can’t figure out why I would have ever given them up.
Chuck E. Cheese’s. A wonderland of sensory overload where you spend $20 in tokens trying to win a plastic toy that would normally cost about 25 cents. But where else could you get such a sense of accomplishment and pride from doing something as simple as pushing buttons for two hours?
Footie pajamas. Enough said.
Naptime. Looking back, I’ve realized that I wasted hours upon hours staring at pictures in books that I couldn’t read because I was too stubborn to take a nap in kindergarten. I’m now convinced that every time I’m dying to take a nap instead of attend class after lunch, the naptime gods are laughing at me for shunning the practice when I was too young to fully appreciate it.
Cheesy movies. Anyone who has been channel-surfing and somehow ended up on Nickelodeon or the Disney channel, enthralled with singing basketball players or cartoon princesses spewing corny lines knows the beauty of kids‘ movies. Now it’s embarrassing to admit that those catchy songs, bright colors and predictable plots are so appealing, but it’s hard to ignore the delight we’ve gotten out of these films over the years.
Crying in public. Everyone’s had those days when things build and build until you finally breakdown when the bookstore doesn’t have your favorite kind of note cards. Children innately know that a good cry can make everything better, but somehow we’ve lost the privilege of expressing our emotions freely after the age of eight. If we embraced this idea now, everyone would be a lot less stressed.
I encourage everyone to take some time and revisit some of those things you miss most from childhood. While piggyback rides may be out of the question, opening a box of crayons may prove to be a great time and help to postpone that pesky maturity thing for just a little bit longer.
DANIELLE RAMIREZ thinks that someone should organize a massive game of Heads-Up Seven-Up in Science Lecture Hall and petition for a universitywide naptime. If you’re interested, e-mail her at email@example.com.