1. Racing home from school so that you could go out with your friends to play hidey or rounders or hang about outside Safeway on your micro-scooter because you were BADASS.
2. Asking your parents if you could stay out a bit later because “everyone else” was, knowing full well that “everyone else” was asking their parents the same thing.
3. Thinking that there was no pain that couldn’t be fixed with a plaster and a warm smile.
5. Swapping crisps with your friends at “playtime” while you compared lunch-boxes. Hearing some absolute chancer say, “I’ll give you my apple for your Twix,” as if that were a perfectly legitimate trade off then giving that bitch some SERIOUS nine-year-old side eye.
6. Climbing trees, grazing your knees and never being afraid of falling.
7. The heart-wrenching, soul-splitting dilemma caused by the question, “who’s your best friend?” If you gave two names, your interrogator would furrow her brow and narrow her eyes, ruthlessly indifferent to the battle raging within you. Then she’d say: “Yeah, but who’s your BEST best friend?”
PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME CHOOSE, I WILL GIVE YOU ALL OF MY POKÉMON CARDS AND ALL OF MY FRUIT WINDERS FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY.
8. Sleeping over at your friend’s house because that was a huge event in itself and not because you took too many shots and she didn’t trust you to make it home.
This was even more exciting if it was a group sleepover where you all brought your sleeping bags and piled onto someone’s bedroom floor and watched terrible movies all night. There was always one person who couldn’t stop laughing even though everyone else was finally drifting off. If you’re struggling to remember who that person was, it was probably you.
8. Paper chains, hopscotch, “sticky willies,” frog-shaped bins, homework jotters, books with pictures and everything else about school that was so safe; so familiar.
9. Feeling like the smallest and simplest achievements were huge, important accomplishments.
10. Needing very little to make you truly happy.
11. Believing that no matter how down you felt or how hurt you were or how bad things seemed, tomorrow would always be better.