The anticipation with which you would look forward to summer in high school was immense. The countdown started from March, and plans were made even before then.
It meant a school-free, stress-free, responsibility-free few weeks of essentially doing exactly what you wanted.
Your friends were always around to hang out, and whether you were just lying in the park or going on exotic family vacations, you knew it was going to be fun.
Sadly, those days – I’m starting to think the best days ever – are behind us. The daily slog continues, and "summer" is just a word that used to mean something good.
Here’s why summer was better as a kid:
1. You were always tan.
Looking outside the office window and seeing a gorgeous sunny day has to be one of the most sickening feelings. It’s the sensation that everyone is getting to enjoy something you’re not privy to... be it raised vitamin D levels or a walk through the park.
A tan makes everyone look better. It makes you glow, it makes you look thinner. Now we have jobs, the sun is so tantalizingly close, but entirely impossible to access. #paleanddepressed
2. Airports were more fun.
Remember how cool the conveyor belts used to be? You could climb all over them until airport personnel yelled at you. Your parents took care of passports and boarding passes, and you hadn’t yet come to resent waiting on line with an all-consuming, burning passion.
Essentially, you had nothing to worry about but how many times you could make the metal detector go off.
3. Ice cream didn’t make you fat.
The jingle of an ice-cream truck is nostalgic, bringing instant recall to freedom and summer afternoons with nothing to do but eat Mr. Softee. Now? Before I even think about asking for a Mr. Softee, I’ve calculated the grams of fat, sugar and carbs, and food guilt normally takes over.
Summer food treats were a simple source of pleasure – now, they’re a mathematical equation of what we think we deserve that day. And on that note…
4. Not caring about your bikini body.
I can’t even imagine how young I must have been not to be aware of my body, but there was a time. You didn’t worry about cellulite or boobs or thighs, so putting on a bikini didn’t mean months of dieting and gym preparation.
Now, we could never detach our mental awareness from our semi-naked bodies, and just enjoy whatever activity we’re doing, completely unaware of what we look like while we do it.
5. Summer camp.
Remember how excited you were to go on camp? The camp friends you’d make and (kind of) stay in touch with? The random activities you did that you’d now find weird and lame?
There’s no adult version of camp, but it sure enhanced our summers when we were 13.
6. Having no work.
This one seems pretty obvious, but summer was a break from your regular routine. There were no obligations, no time frames and no allotted activities.
It was time off from everyday life. Now, summer IS everyday life... just a sweatier, stickier and more resented version of it.
7. Staying out late with no repercussions.
During the summer holidays, everyone’s curfew was relaxed and you could stay out with your friends. You could have a long, fun night of going to the movies or the beach or dancing, and the next day, you felt nothing at all.
Now, staying out late generally means a hangover, or at least sleep deprivation and the inability to focus or function next day. The party’s over, people.
8. Making random friends.
Remember when you used to knock on the neighbors’ doors and see if the kids wanted to ride bikes with you? (I really hope this wasn’t just my family.)
There are so many things about this that I can’t imagine doing as an adult. Ringing a doorbell, rather than texting, for one. This innocence and carefree living just can’t be replicated today.
Where I lived, there was a park we’d go to every Saturday afternoon with friends, and take a picnic. We used to hang from monkey bars, be pushed on swings, feel sick on the roundabout.
I don’t think my ass would fit on a kids’ slide anymore, and friction would sure as hell override gravity, so playing in the jungle gym is something we’ll never get back.
10. Long vacations.
Now, a weekend away feels like a luxury. Being able to escape and switch off for two days is the most we can really hope for.
Back when we were young, you could go away for two weeks. Or three. You could play in the pool, you could build sandcastles and explore everywhere without the looming sensation that your holiday was, imminently, coming to an end.
11. You didn’t have to shave.
There was simply no beach preparation. No exfoliating and shaving and moisturizing to look perfect: Your pre-pubescent body just did look perfect, effortlessly.
Thanks to the patriarchy, the porn industry and our own exacting standards, this hair-removal procedure throughout summer is now something we’re going to be subject to for the rest of our lives.
12. Sleeping in.
On a random Tuesday, if you wanted to. Because why not? In fact you could sleep until 4 pm... because why not? You had nowhere to be, no bills to pay, no responsibilities to live up to.
WHY didn’t we appreciate this more? I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to be so carefree again, and it just passed us by. (I’m totally throwing myself a pity party right now. Wanna come?)
13. Escaping your parents while taking their money.
Doesn’t this literally sound like the dream? Getting to hang out with your friends and not being nagged, while said naggers pay for this luxury? And yet it happened, every day.
Whether it was at camp or on vacation with friends, you had the best of both worlds.
14. You never had to make or buy meals.
When we were young, we used to get packed lunches for day camp. Cheese strings and Dunkaroos, foods we were never normally allowed, were suddenly fair game. And OMG popsicles anyone? When you wanted dinner, your mom would cook.
If you wanted a barbecue, it would pretty much be done for you. Now, planning a barbecue for friends is a chore, buying lunch means sweating it out in a deli with other people missing their youth, and I don’t even know if Dunkaroos are still a thing.
15. Matching outfits with your brothers.
I would totally still love to do this, but I feel it may be weird and my brothers would disown me. My two brothers would wear matching swimming trunks, and I’d wear a bathing suit with the same print.
We have many, many photos proving this was actually cute and not creepy. I fully plan to force my husband to match his trunks with my sons’, but until then, our matching summer days are over.
16. Your parents took you shopping.
My mom saw summer as the perfect time to buy us a fall wardrobe, in preparation for the new school term and Jewish holidays. This was so great. Now, if I want to go shopping during the summer, I have to find time and money.
While my mom doesn’t shop with me anymore, the child in me lives on and I can’t bring myself to buy something until she’s approved it. Why do I think I’ve got the worst of adulthood?
17. Getting to hang out with your siblings.
I really couldn’t envision writing that sentence when I was younger, but now I look back, it was such a privilege. Your siblings were always at home, whether from school or college, so you hung out together in ways you normally wouldn’t.
Family vacations offered ample time to bond, and some of my best memories revolve around being with my parents and brothers on holiday. Now, it’s so rare to be able to get together as a family, as everyone’s schedules are busy and different.
18. Being in the pool so long you wrinkled.
Remember when you and your friends used to compare whose skin had turned more wrinkly and elephant-like? Yeah, that was because you’d been lying around and swimming in the pool for four hours. Because you could.
Now, I cant even recall the touch and sensation of wrinkled skin. I can, however, tell you what dry skin from too much office air conditioning feels like.
19. Weekends didn’t matter.
When every day was a holiday, your life was as blissful on a Monday as on a Saturday. Can you imagine? There was no pressure to make amazing weekend plans because they could happen any other time.
Now, you feel guilty doing nothing on a Sunday, because it’s one of your only days off and should be used to socialize and do exciting things. That kind of pressure just didn’t exist, and we were happier for it.
20. Binge watching TV.
You had all day to watch, and the shows were SO good. The best was when Nickelodeon did a "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" marathon. Or, Mary Kate and Ashley DVDs. Summer was the time to watch trash TV without judgment.
Now, it eats into your social life and watching "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" alone on a Friday night doesn’t feel quite as socially acceptable.
21. Having the time to be bored.
You know when you get bored? When you have literally nothing to do? When you’ve watched every show, tanned every angle, seen every friend, eaten every ice cream?
I welcome boredom. I wish for boredom. But instead, we try and pack in so much after work and on weekends that we achieve the opposite: stress and fatigue.
22. Games in the pool were non-sexual.
You were up on a guy’s shoulders, bikini top falling down, wrestling other girls, and thinking nothing of it. Some of us still do this... but they’re a little attention-seeking.
23. You grew.
I don’t mean this in an emotional way, but actual height. In the summer between, say, eighth and ninth grade, you had the capacity to grow maybe an inch taller.
It was always fun going back to school and realizing that guys had gotten cuter, their voices had deepened, and you were now tenth tallest in the class. Now, there’s no physical change in us over summer, and nothing exciting to come back to.
24. Looking forward to your birthday.
Admittedly, this may have just been me. But, as any of you Virgos out there know, the last six weeks of summer were spent dreaming about becoming a year older, planning the most amazing birthday party everrrrr and getting great presents.
Now, the end of summer is a reminder that I’m nearly a year older, should really invest in a wrinkle cream, and should probably organize birthday drinks, but can’t be bothered.
25. Shopping for school supplies.
I don’t know, maybe I had a pretty sad life, but going stationary shopping at the end of summer for the new school year was a definite highlight. We’d buy everything new, from pencil case to protractor to those crazy cool milky gel pens that were scented.
We could make a whole morning out of choosing stationary supplies, and it felt so thrilling. Now, all you need is a laptop and maybe one or two black pens that you can steal from a bank. Not as fun.
26. Playing table tennis.
OK, I know you can technically do this as an adult. But not like how we used to. We’d have hour-long competitions in the garden, tallying up scores that we’d keep track of for weeks.
We had all the time in the world to practice, and long sunlight hours to play into the night. Not only do I now suck at table tennis, but it seems to have lost that magic sensation of being truly important.
There is no luxury quite like getting into bed at 4:00 pm on a hot afternoon, in broad daylight. You turn off the lights, slip into cool sheets, and sleep for three hours.
Summer gives you this freedom, where you have nowhere to be and nothing important to do. The only thing that comes close to this as an adult is Arianna Huffington's sleep pods at work, which are cool, but Not.The.Same.