Growing up can either be an exciting or terrifying concept.
For me it was always something I looked forward to, whether it was getting my license, going to college, or getting married. Now I can say I’ve done all that.
I’ve been told I’m a mature and responsible adult. I would agree with that, but I also think back to my childhood and some of the many different adolescent experiences I had. I like to reminisce with friends about the days where we didn’t have to worry about how we looked or what kind of job we needed to pay the bills.
Here is a list of some of my best childhood memories.
1. Themed Birthday Parties.
You may think you party hard now, but remember how hard you partied in elementary school? It seemed as if there was a party to go to every other weekend. You always brought a good present or risked not getting one when it was your turn. If you were lucky (like me) you had your birthday during the summer and got to spend the whole day doing whatever you wanted. If you had to go to school on your birthday, you most likely brought treats for the whole class (I always thought they should bring a treat just for you).
2. Disney/Nickelodeon Shows
These channels are so different now than they were when I was growing up—new shows, new actors and actresses, new stories. However, new isn’t always better. You might be thinking that I just don’t like the shows on today because I’m older. Well, that could be true, but watch an episode of the Rugrats, Lizzie McGuire, or Drake and Josh then watch Dog with a Blog, Liv and Maddie, or Henry Danger. I would be curious to know which ones you would rather sit through.
3. Happy Meal Toys
I was big into collecting all the different McDonald’s toys you could find. My parents probably hated when they started giving out miniature Furbies. These toys were all so simple yet could entertain kids for hours. If you can’t remember what Happy Meal toys you used to love, Buzzfeed provides pictures and descriptions of the ones that came out in the ‘90s.
I can’t wait to do this again someday with my future children. However, it won’t be the same as it was when I was a child. It was thrilling to walk up to a stranger’s house and ring the doorbell hoping they would give you your favorite candy. Also, I always had to plan my costume based on the North Dakota weather.
5. Inflatable Furniture
These were actually very uncomfortable, but they made you instantly popular.
6. M.A.S.H Game
I’m pretty sure that everyone who played this game actually hoped it would become real life.
I’ll never forget when time was actually scheduled into my day for me to go outside and have fun. Red Rover was great until too many people got hurt and the game was banned. Stress levels rose when boys chased the girls and your crush was one of them. I learned about claustrophobia when playing clog the toilet (seeing how many kids we could cram into a tube slide at once).
8. Lisa Frank
Her creations of puppies, kittens, and other animals were popular among most girls. I can remember having these notebooks, folders, and binders.
Summer used to feel like an eternity. You could ride your bike, go to the community swimming pool (or lake if you lived by one), play at the park, invite friends over, and have a bonfire in just one day. You probably stayed up late and slept in the next day. With hardly any electronics, you had to spend most of your day outside. Many people enjoy camping to get away from everyday life. Traveling is something I particularly love. I enjoyed all my family vacations—we went someplace different every summer.
10. Big Wheels
Once summer hit, these were seen all around the neighborhood. Those who didn’t have one wanted to take turns with those who did. If you wanted to be really creative, you covered yours in stickers.
11. Book Fairs
I’m not sure how you felt about these if you didn’t like to read, but there was other items for sale besides books. Once the teacher handed out the magazines, everyone would page through and circle what they wanted to buy (with their parent’s money). Most of us loved to use these as an excuse to get out of class.
12. Polly Pocket
I used to be pretty obsessed with Polly Pocket. I wanted all her characters, clothes, and different houses. Polly Pocket had a couple different versions made in different sizes. I can remember the rubber clothes and trying so hard not to rip anything while changing Polly’s outfits. I also had Barbies, but it wasn’t the same.
13. Making Boxes for Valentine’s Day
It was always a challenge to see who could create the most elaborate box. Sometimes parents would help out. I loved using stickers and different shapes other than a boring square. Once you had your perfect box. you had to buy Valentine’s cards to put in everyone else’s box. You couldn’t leave anyone out. It also seemed as though there was an unwritten rule that said you must include a piece of candy with your card.
14. Oregon Trail
The one thing that would’ve made this game better was adding more computers in the classroom so you got longer than five or ten minutes to play.
15. Lack of Responsibility
When you’re a child you have nothing to worry about except what toys to put on your Christmas list. You have no job and nothing to pay for. If you’re like me, you probably took advantage of your mom’s and grandma’s cooking. Now I have to do everything by myself.
In the end, growing up is inevitable. We all go through the changes and deal with them in our own way. I loved my childhood, but now it’s time for me to be an adult. Now I can look forward to making sure my future children, as well as nieces and nephews, have their own great experiences growing up.
Leandra Zeller is a senior communication studies major with minors in public relations and leadership studies. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.