You know what ultra-sucks? Not being a kid anymore. When you’re small, school is literally a bunch of games. Everything is interesting. You can get away with murder. I remember when I was at the zenith of my bucktoothed adorableness I broke into my neighbor’s house in order steal their kid’s kickball and got away with it (I also ate most of their peanut butter straight out of the jar. With my fingers. And I regret NOTHING).
Yep, being a kid pretty much rules, and even angsty adolescents generally don’t have much to worry about. But now we have to pay rent, pick careers, try to make good decisions, and our hangovers are starting to stick. No doubt about it, being an adult is a lot less fun than I thought it would be, and it seems like a lot of people I know are on the same page. As much as I agree with Renee’s recent post–some behaviors are straight up unacceptable–in some ways I think we’ve grown up too fast. Sometimes it’s OK to not act your age, as long as you stay far, far away from the diaper aisle. Here are a few socially acceptable ways to hark back to the good old days.
1. Get genuinely excited about stuff
I think the defining characteristic of children is their unabashed, wild enthusiasm for absolutely EVERYTHING. They freak out about rain. They absolutely lose their shit over Christmas presents. And don’t even get me started on Disneyland. Generally at our age, this kind of unbridled excitement is reserved for those who can hear color, man, and it’s so beautiful. I’m not saying you have to get THAT excited, just that maybe we could be a little less cynical. People will have whole conversations that consist entirely of whining. When waiting in purgatory–otherwise known as the line to the ladies’ room at a bar–I’ve noticed girls will introduce themselves with a complaint, their name sandwiched in between ughs and Goditsmellsinheres. What happened to getting excited about trivial things like car rides?
Next time you’re at a restaurant, instead of complaining about the wait or spending the whole time Instagramming your food, really enjoy it. Even if it’s not the greatest. What’s more magical than sitting down and (a hopefully friendly) someone bringing you a plate of exactly what you wanted to eat? What’s better than a delicious beverage when you’re thirsty? Try and enjoy these moments you normally ignore because your entire day/week/month/life is a composite of them.
2. Be willing to make friends more easily
Maybe I’m a dork, but I actually find it really hard to make friends at parties unless everyone is fantastically drunk and in love with the world.
I trot out the tired old “Are you a student? What do you do for work?” and the conversation usually seems to stop there. If you don’t know anyone and you’re trying to make a 3-hour friend so you don’t have to lurk in the corner anymore, you need to strike a careful balance. You should be interested in talking to them but not too interested because you don’t want to come off as creepy. It’s not just at parties either; I’ve noticed people always have their guard up, whether they’re in class or hanging out at a cafe. If you’re lucky and the person is interesting or cool, if you want to turn the chitchat into an actual friendship it’s surprisingly difficult. There’s even a Lifehacker article about it. That’s sad to me. One of my best childhood friendships was forged because we were both wearing Lion King shirts. That’s all we needed. Then we got pretend married and were pals for years. Wouldn’t it be nice if people just gave up the distance-dance and allowed themselves more opportunities to make friends? I guarantee that every time you felt like a Friendless Lurker, another person there felt like one too.
3. Learn more
(Oh god… I am a dork.)
An amazing and simultaneously terrifying thing about children is how quickly they learn anything at all. Mumble a swear word in the company of a child and you’ll be hearing filth from their sweet innocent mouth for weeks. Want to feel terrible about your foreign language skills? Hang around a 4 year old with bilingual parents and soon you’ll be asking them to help you with your homework. There’s only so much you can do with your crusty old adult-brain because kids’ brains are still forming, they have fewer experiences to compare new ones to, and people are more willing to correct them–but you CAN try to approach things like a kid would. (No, not that way.) In addition to being excited about stuff, kids assume that everyone around them knows more than they do–and they’re usually right–but not being afraid to ask a lot of questions or change your ideas about things is always a good thing, no matter how much you already know. Just because you think you know the best way doesn’t mean it’s actually the best. Maybe it’s actually a horrible idea and will somehow destroy a small village but you’re attached to it because of… reasons. Even if you turn out to be right after all, what’s better than being right in front of other people?
There you have it, broskis. It’s perfectly acceptable to Adult only some of the time. Well, OK. We’ll shoot for most of the time.