It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of OshKosh, it was the age of Dunkaroos: oh, childhood. If Dickens was alive today, he would rhapsodize about the days when choices were as uncomplicated as deciding between the sandpit or the ball pit, when cooking was simple as popping a pan in the Easy Bakeor tearing the plastic off a Lunchable, and when heartbreak was no greater than the devastation you felt when that weeknight episode of Full House was a repeat (Uncle Jesse, how foolish we were for crushing on Steve over you!).
Indeed, childhood was a time that brought new meaning to the notion of fun and folly, and whoa, don’t we miss it. We know “growing up” is all part of the circle of life (or so we learned at age three from The Lion King), but don’t you wish that it was still socially acceptable to dress up as a fairy princess and tote your teddy bear in public sometimes (whoops, some among us still do)?
While your street cred is higher than the years you rode car seat in your mom’s minivan, there’s something to be said for the days of being a kid. Here are 10 things we miss most about childhood:
1. Perfect Skin
Oh, to return to the days when “Clean and Clear” meant nothing more than the state of your toy box after the clean-up song, and Neutrogena, as far as you knew, was the alien name of the latest Transformer. At some point, perfect skin became a thing you stopped simply having and started striving for with a twenty minute morning and night facial routine. How children maintain perfect skin playing in dirt all day with perpetual Nutellasmears across their cheeks is a mystery to rival why I use Bioréstrips so often when tearing them off makes me want to cry.
2. Nap Time
As a child, a midday nap is a part of your daily routine—ninety minutes of “you” time between the exhausting activities of constructing Legopalaces and watching Care Bears on cable. Nowadays, nary an afternoon passes me by during which I don’t fantasize about curling up on the nearest park bench, I’m so exhausted. Trying to function for an entire day on six hours of nighttime sleep is like trying to power yourself for twenty-four hours on six unfrosted Mini-Wheats, which is just about the amount I have time to eat in the morning after sleeping in because I powered through nap time the day before.
As a kid, recess was the best mini-vacation you could possibly wish for, but instead of drinking mojitos on a beach somewhere in the Maldives, like you dream of now, all you wanted was just to run out the double-doors each day to defend your title as tetherball champion and grass stain your knees so badly playing Red Rover, your mom gave you a time-out for it and took away your Super Smash Bros on N64 privileges (how could she?!). But seriously, even now, not even acing a killer test can top the victory you felt the day you beat that fourth-grade snob Mandy in Marco Polo.
4. Saturday Morning Cartoons
When you were a kid, Scooby-Doo was your Mad Men. Your curiosity reared over burning questions like whether Scooby would catch the bad guy again, or speak real words for once. As a child, your day started at like, 6 AM, naturally, because you were this crazy nocturnal creature that didn’t need to sleep until noon to feel rested (imagine that? See: 2. Nap Time). Before your parents were up, Saturday morning cartoons were there for you. They signified a day of innocence that your Saturday mornings now can’t hope to rival as you inevitably walk-of-shame back to your place with a hangover to rival what you imagine Don Draper must experience every morning of his life.
5. Summer Camp
Unless your parents sent you to Kids’ Law Camp (yes, that actually exists), summer camp is probably one of the fondest memories you have of your childhood. You just played all day and no one tried for a second to stop you. What were you to choose between: swimming or hiking? Making bead necklaces or having someone paint your face like a lion? Now the only choices you get are between having a 100% final or a 50% paper and 50% final. You’d roast marshmallows around the campfire instead of in your microwave like you do now. You’d stay up all night telling ghost stories in tents instead of cramming for that 100% final (why did you choose that option, again?!). Summer camp was bliss!