When I was kid I had a list of things that I couldn’t wait to do when I grew up. They weren’t totally crazy ideas (OK, maybe some of them were—I wanted to attend summer camp in the Keebler Elves’ tree), but mostly, they just were just about breaking free of all the rules and parameters that came with being a kid. Now that I’m a full-fledged adult, I still think it’s pretty awesome that I get to decide my own bedtime and pick out my own clothes. For the most part, though, I haven’t gotten around to doing most of the things my former child-self would’ve killed to do because, like so many adults before me, I feel pressure to be responsible and sensible and—YAWN. Is this something that I need to change? I think there’s at least a little wiggle room. Here, presented in no particular order, is a list of things that Little Me thought Big Me would do on the regular:
Eat ice cream in bed. Growing up, I was strictly forbidden to eat anything in my bed, especially anything sticky, drippy, or gooey. But what could be better than indulging in several mortal sins at once?! (Gluttony AND sloth? Yes, please!) It feels so decadent to snuggle up under the covers while spooning creamy butter-pecan into my mouth. I absolutely love it. That said, I also love my 1000 thread-count sheets, so I can’t really say if it’s worth it.
Play in the rain. I wanted to do this every time the sky grew dark. Standing out in the rain, soaking, made me feel like a rebel, daring nature to do its worst, even as my parents told me I’d catch my death. Now I get cranky when it rains, because my hair doesn’t hold up well under moisture. I guess I could stand to say “To hell with it” and get wet every once in a while.
Eat breakfast for dinner. I always felt so giddily strange, like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, on those rare occasions when my mother made scrambled eggs and biscuits for dinner. The backwards meal was a nothing short of whimsical , and if there is anything adults in this world need more of, it’s whimsy. And waffles.
Cartwheels. When is the last time you can honestly say you did a cartwheel? It’s been a while right? But as a little girl, I never missed an opportunity to flip upside down. I just don’t have as many opportunities as a grown woman to show off my gymnastic skills. I promise, right now, that I will try to do more cartwheels. Also acceptable: hula-hooping, jump rope, or hop-scotch Hey, it’s cardio!
Buy myself toys. Lots and lots of toys. I don’t know about y’all, but as a young child I fantasized about having my own money so I could buy whatever I wanted. I desperately pined for a Cabbage Patch with every hair color and a Teddy Ruxpin. Dang, though, toys are expensive. I never realized how complicated finances were! But I deserve something for myself that is just plain fun. Why can’t I buy that robot dog that can learn tricks or the deluxe Scrabble with rotating tables and no-slide tiles? I can, and I shall.
Wear PJs out in the world. Well, LBR, we all kind of did this in college. As a grown-up, I know I have to present myself in silly grown-up clothing most of the time, but maybe I could test-drive my flannels at the local coffee shop? Or maybe I could just buy those fancy-schmancy pajamas that double as night wear.
Stay up all night. Nothing takes more determination as kid than to stay up all night. I would fight sleep until I saw dawn coming, then I would collapse in a heap of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. It seemed so awesome to me that one day I would never have to go to bed if I didn’t want to. The only problem? Staying up all night is completely exhausting and makes you feel terrible. It’s practically impossible to function on zero sleep, so this is one of those things that, as an adult, sounds like a real drag. With freedom comes great responsibility. Whoever said that is the O.G. no-fun-nik.
Believe in magic. It is such a crying shame that the sheer wonderment of the world is ground out of us as we age. Kids aren’t afraid to be amazed without thinking they’re being tricked. Now that’s a philosophy to live by. I’ll continue to wish on stars, shiny pennies, dandelions and every clock that reads 11:11, because you just never know. Do you?
Spend the day in roller skates. Seriously, who needs shoes when you’ve got shoes with WHEELS? Unfortunately, my center of gravity isn’t as low anymore. I’m not sure my health insurance plan can accommodate this.
Never, ever clean my room. I was a bit of a messy child (is there really any other kind?). My room always looked like a hurricane had blown through it, and my mother and I engaged in a constant battled over tidiness. I remember thinking how oppressive this was and vowed never to capitulate to the fascist regime of cleanliness. Now, cultural norms force me to straighten up constantly, and to be honest, I prefer order to chaos. But I could leave my bed unmade once in a while. The sun would still rise tomorrow.
Work at a candy factory. Roald Dahl knew the way to a kid’s heart when he gave Charlie that chocolate factory. Like Charlie, I wanted to work at a place with a chocolate river, floating soda bubbles, and a vaguely sarcastic eccentric who really understood me. Although, I’m not sure my metabolism is up to the challenge. How many PiYo classes doe sit take to work off a chocolate river?
Give everyone hugs as presents. I didn’t really get the idea of buying expensive stuff for other folks as a kid. I thought everyone loved getting hugs from me as much as my mom did, so I felt justified in offering them up for any occasion. Birthday? You get a hug! Bat Mitzvah? You get a hug! Christmas? You know what’s in the box. Hugs were commerce to me back then, but they have depreciated over time. I want to say that I have the kind of friends who would act appreciative if they received a hug for their birthday, but I also like to think I’m the kind of grown-up that knows the value of a good scented candle.
Slumber parties. Sleepovers were the highlight of my girlhood. My friends and I spent every weekend staying up late, gossiping, eating processed sugar, and talking about boys. I remember thinking that I would do this forever, but I just don’t have my ladies over to spend the night nearly as much as I should. Think about what a grown-up slumber party would look like: wine, expensive cheese, all the movies from the Best Picture category, and lots and lots of talk about life. This one is a must.
[Images via and here]