11 Things We Should Have Appreciated More As Kids Jill Layton

Being a kid was the best, especially in the ’80s and ’90s (probably in other decades too, but I write about what I know, you know?). Here’s a list of 11 things we didn’t appreciate as kids but should have.

1. Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties.

If you lived in a big city, you probably had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party to attend every weekend in 7th grade – sometimes even two. And if you’re Jewish or law-abiding, your parents probably forced you to attend the religious temple services on Saturday mornings. That part wasn’t great, but what WAS great were the Saturday night parties. There was always a DJ or a fun dance crew to get everyone pumped to jump up and down to Sir Mix-a-Lot and YMCA (the latter was always per the parents’ section request). We automatically had a fun party to attend every weekend. They were just built-in. Now, as adults, we get invited to a party once every couple of months, maybe. And they’re BYOB, and don’t have cool prizes like oversized sunglasses or glow necklaces.

2. Someone always cooking for us.

Whether it was our parents or someone else’s parents, we were never left to fend for ourselves (at least not before we could drive). Even if the food was gross, it was still  homemade (or microwaved) and relatively nutritional. Now we have to go to the store, buy the food, prepare the food and clean up the mess we made with the food. And that’s only if we aren’t too tired from a long day at work. If we’re feeling lazy (which we usually are), then it’s whatever leftovers we can carry in one trip from the kitchen to the couch.

3. Having a pet and our parents taking care of it.

Dogs are the best (I feel neutral about cats, but I appreciate that you may love them), but it can be a pain having one in an apartment. Sometimes we just don’t feel like walking them, running home to feed them, or bathing them after they roll around in another dog’s poo. As kids, if we didn’t take care of the pet, our parents had to do it. If they didn’t, the pet would die (or be sent to a “farm”). Parents couldn’t deal with that kind of guilt, so it was a win-win (for us and our pets).

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My dog, Riley, after rolling in another dog’s poo.

4. Not always being reachable.

We didn’t have cell phones (unless you were lucky enough to have a Zack Morris phone) or email, and it was great. We were never held accountable for missing a phone call. We’d call back when we were home and had the chance. Now it’s considered rude if we don’t call, text, email or Facebook message someone back right away. This generational etiquette takes away from us being fully present in whatever we are doing and whoever we are with (or doing).

5. Friendship bracelets.

Kids are generous. I’d get a new friendship bracelet at least once a month. And that’s not because I was popular or nice, it’s because my friends and I didn’t have anything else to do besides make bracelets (I was nice though). It was a way to claim and solidify friendships. Now I don’t know anyone over thirteen who makes friendship bracelets except for me. I make them for myself (I’m friends with me, so it only makes sense) and for my friends, who always promise to reciprocate, but don’t, because who has time to make bracelets (except for me and all girls under thirteen)? Adults are way less generous with their time, but they’re still cool and fun to be around (some of them).

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A few friendship bracelets a teenage girl made when she was bored, probably.

6. Living under the same roof (or even the same city) as family.

Our siblings drove us crazy, and we couldn’t wait to get away from our parents’ rules and constant nagging. But once we did, we missed them. And as adults, we still miss them. We took the accessible unconditional love for granted. We also took for granted not having to buy a plane ticket every time we wanted to give mom and dad a hug. Or have them take us shopping (we are never too old or successful for that).

7. ’90s fashion.

We wore oversized flannels on top of oversized t-shirts, dyed our hair with Sun In, and wore belly chains and toe rings like they were going out of style (they were). We wore Umbros and Big Dog shirts, and didn’t just get away with it, we looked cool. Fashion was easy and comfortable. It’s still easy and comfortable if we want it to be, just not as comfortable as Hammer pants and Birkenstocks.

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  1. Let’s be friends! Haha. I made a few of my friends bracelets in college. I rock a slightly updated 90s fashion on the weekends. I play outside. I’m learning guitar, piano, italian, and javascript among other things. And I’m slowly regaining that untouchable-ness; at least when it comes to heartbreak, anxiety and worrying.
    And I’m 23. :D lol. But really, I completely agree with this. And that’s probably why I still do the things I do. It’s not too late!

  2. I have a little cousin who is about 10 who made me a friendship bracelet recently. Made my day! And much agreed on the old tv shows, playing outside (seriously kids need to do this more often, and we do too!) and cooking! Cooking for yourself is hard. I’m still working on being good at that one.

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