As college students, we are at a strange time in our lives. We are on the brink of being full-fledged adults, and yet, there is that little part of us—OK, that large part of us—that wants to cling on to childhood with all of our might.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Whether you are constantly sentimental for nap time and swing sets or not, there is no denying that everyone could use a break from the stressful and often over-scheduled lives we lead. And what better way to do so than to take a step back to the carefree ways of our younger years and be a kid again, at least for a little bit?
OK, you can admit it now. Sometimes, you are just as nostalgic as I am.
In honor of everyone’s secret—or, in my case, not-so-secret—desire to rekindle the ease of our youth, here are some simple things, and a few more extravagant ways, that can help to temporarily recapture childhood for the sake of shrugging off those pressures of almost-adulthood, at least for a little while.
Take a candy break.
It sounds a little strange, I know, but if you have ever seen “13 Going on 30,” then you know the power of things like Razzles. (Now, if you actually like Razzles or not is a whole different story.) Find your own Razzles—mine would be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—and savor the sugar rush.
Disney, Disney, Disney.
Now, ideally, this includes a trip to go see Mr. Mickey, but if a road trip to Anaheim isn’t exactly in your budget at the moment, there are other ways to get your Walt fix. Disney is continuously rolling movies out of the vault; classics like “Winnie the Pooh,” “Peter Pan,” “Mulan,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Robin Hood,” and more are available (and “The Little Mermaid” comes out soon!) And even better, they’re on Netflix. If you have about ninety minutes, and you don’t mind having a catchy song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, zoning out to your favorite animated characters is a surefire way to reminisce.
And, if you’re one of the lucky ones that can actually afford Anaheim, plan a trip to Disneyland. It’s a little pricey, sure, but a pair of mouse ears and spin on Space Mountain are both well worth admission. The Happiest Place on Earth is also one of the only places that it is socially acceptable for a 20-year-old to freak out over a princess in a parade.
Speaking of Netflix, it is a really good place to find more than just Disney movies. “Saved by the Bell” immediately comes to mind, but after some perusing, I also found “Phineas and Ferb” and “The Powerpuff Girls.”
To really throw it back, watch TV on an actual TV. Both MTV2 and ABC Family air “Boy Meets World” on a near-daily basis. And let’s just be honest, everyone loves that show.
Make a Slip ‘n’ Slide.
Anyone else remember these things as the best part of elementary school field days? Even if you don’t want to go out and buy the real thing, they are easy enough to make. A big plastic tarp, a hose, and a patch of grass with a slight downhill slant is all that it takes.
When we were in middle school, family game nights were the corniest and most embarrassing ways to spend a Friday night. Now that you’re in college, something about Monopoly just sounds a lot more appealing.
OK, seriously. There is something addicting about blowing soap through a little plastic ring and watching the light catch that bubble just right, sending the rainbow-colored sphere floating up… up… up… until… pop. And it is nearly impossible to resist the temptation to attempt blowing the biggest bubble ever.
Same goes for bubble gum.
And, luckily enough, both the gum and that little thing of bubbles are readily available at your local Dollar Tree, which is something every college student’s bank account can appreciate.
Go for a bike ride… and not just to class.
Not only does exercise de-stress you already, but I, personally, feel immediately soothed when I am riding my bike around just because I feel like it. It takes me back to the days where I was only allowed to ride as far as the park down the street; now, my mom has no say in my route. The possibilities for adventure are endless.
It’s pretty fantastic.
Give in to your inner child.
Honestly, I can’t really tell you how to be a kid again, because everyone’s childhoods are admittedly different. While I did offer up some pretty solid ideas (if I do say so myself), the best advice I can give you if you are missing childhood is to let your inner child live. We all have that little voice that tells us to do something silly—or occasionally stupid—but we rarely listen to it, for fear of judgment or because of this crazy concept of “being an adult.” And, okay sure, there is plenty to be said for adulthood and responsibility, but even that has a time and a place.
You know that old guy who lived down the street from you? The one who was always grumpy and started hollering if you so much as thought about stepping foot in his front yard?
That guy’s inner child is almost dead.
Don’t be that guy.
After all, Peter Pan turned out okay, and he never grew up.
So why should we?
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org