1. Sticking your feet out the car window and feeling the wind envelop your toes. Then, falling asleep and having your father carry you to bed. You’d wake up in the middle of the night, realizing you’re safe and sound, and smile contentedly before drifting off to sleep again.
2. Class field trips that required a long bus ride. You’d sit in the back with your best friends and play games of telephone. It usually took only one round before things took a turn for the sexual.
3. Spending hours in your bedroom because there was nothing else to do and you couldn’t drive or go anywhere on your own. You were forced to get creative to pass the time, which usually meant lots of collaging on your bedroom walls and talking on the phone for six hours.
4. Eating whatever you wanted without ever thinking it was possible to get fat. Not only did your metabolism work faster than the speed of light, it didn’t even cross your mind that you could actually gain weight. “Wait, SO I CAN’T DRINK A LARGE JAMBA JUICE WITH MY SANDWICH? SAYS WHO?” Um, says your aging body.
5. Wanting so desperately to be a teenager, and feeling so cool on your thirteenth birthday.
6. Kissing someone for the first time and how amazing it felt, even if it was, in fact, terrible. Trembling hands, thrashing tongues, bumping noses. The awkwardness was all worth it to know that you were wanted, that you had been chosen, that you had experienced a milestone other people hadn’t.
7. Feeling like there is no way you could possibly ever die.
8. Sleepovers with your friends in middle school and talking about “deep” things as the sun rose.
9. Every day seemed to last forever, which was annoying at the time, but now you miss it. Now you want it all to just slow down a little bit.
10. The first time you fell in love with someone and they loved you back and you couldn’t believe it was actually happening, that you actually had the privilege of falling in love. That’s what it feels like when you’re young: a privilege. Because love is not guaranteed to a 17-year-old with acne.
11. When you first started going to parties and discovered that they look exactly like they do in the movies. Someone is always puking in the bushes or crying in the bathroom and you’re just happy to be there. You’d go to any party because the novelty hadn’t worn off yet. You still thought the right get together could change your life. (This changes as you get older. Eventually you’ll feel like you’ve heard the same stories and met all the same annoying people. What once excited you now feels like an annoying obligation and a reminder that you’re getting old.)
12. Meeting your best friend in high school and knowing that you’d survive, because now you had a partner in crime. You were protected; someone understood you.
13. Getting your heart broken into a million little pieces (by James Frey) and acting like a psycho for the next 6-8 months. This may not seem like the best moment of your young adult life but it’s important and important things are good. Once you break up with your first love, you’ll never be the same again and that’s okay. You don’t WANT to be someone who’s never had their heart broken. You’d be like an unfinished person.
14. The first time you fall asleep with someone in the middle of the day. It’s better than sex, to be honest.
15. The beauty of not knowing anything and still having the luxury to figure out what feels right. Having an iron-clad excuse to act completely stupid.
16. Getting your first paycheck and feeling like you’re a real person who could possibly do amazing things. Then promptly spending it all at Forever 21.
17. Your high school graduation and how that was your crowning achievement of the last 18 years. You thought this was when your life started, you were officially an adult now! Only to find out that the first year of college is like high school but with locker room showers and hard drugs.
18. Having terrible taste in everything but being convinced that it was THE BEST TASTE. You took pride in the awful clothes you wore and the bad music you listened to. Being young gives you the freedom to be as unchic as possible.
19. Landing a job that you love. That’s when being “young” sort of ends: with a 401k and stock options. (If that’s actually true, I guess I’ll be young forever…)