It's easy to look back on our childhood struggles and shake our heads at just how uninformed and unaware we were about what real life would, some day, hold in store for us.
In comparison to the financial crises and job demands we face now, having to eat broccoli before dessert doesn't really seem so bad, now does it?
But as “The Lion King” so poignantly reminds us, life is circular (the song puts it much more poetically, but you get the point) and ultimately, all the problems we had as kids just recycle and repurpose themselves for adult life — except now, they manifest on a much more adult level.
If you think you have it bad now, cut your former-self the same slack. In the grand scheme of things, broccoli for dinner with no dessert back then is pretty similar to Ramen noodles for dinner with no dessert now, except now, it's because you literally can't afford dessert.
Let's take the scenic route on the struggle bus as we ride down memory lane, then and now:
Talking to your crush
You're on the swings; she's on the slide... and now, she's headed straight for you.
That nervous flutter in your chest and those underarm sweat stains on your favorite Transformers t-shirt then isn't so different from your adult reaction to catching an alluring eye from across the bar now.
But, when it comes to thinking that kicking sand in her face is an appropriate conversation starter, you may want to consider a new pick-up line.
You never wanted anything more than you wanted that Barbie Beach House with the functioning aquarium and bedroom space for at least six dolls (if Ken doesn't mind sleeping on the kitchen table).
With Christmas seemingly always months away when you decide you can't live without your latest obsession, it's do or die time: You need to make some hard cash and get yourself to Target fast.
As a kid, making a quick buck was as simple as setting the table for a week and keeping your room clean (aka, take everything that's on the floor and push it under the bed). Funny how those chores used to be optional and — get this — worthy of pay.
Now, when we want the equivalent of a Barbie dream house (a 15x15 studio apartment in the city with no air conditioning, but hey, it's only 10 blocks and a train ride away from work!), we have to get real jobs and save for more than two weeks to afford it.
Not to mention, if we don't do basic cleaning tasks around the house, the landlord will physically remove us.
Our nature hasn't changed much since we were kids; as adults, the draw of forbidden fruit (in any form) is just as appealing to us now as it was back then.
While naps were an undesirable, yet required task when we were kids, they’re equivalent to the adult struggle to complete necessary tasks, like work or cleaning, without giving in to an hour of blissful unconsciousness.
Not to mention, the logic behind our resentment of naps as kids isn't all that different from our hesitation to naps as adults. Taking a nap takes precious time out of what could have been a perfectly productive day.
Go ahead and tell yourself you're going to finish that project at twice the speed you would have before the nap, because when it comes down to it, you just wasted an hour that will set you back for at least two more hours and mess up your evening sleep schedule.
Packing for trips
Nothing shows how your priorities have changed over the years quite like the contents of your suitcase, then and now.
Before you pack your bags for a weeklong vacation with the girls to Cancun, you're deciding how many tanks, pants and shoes you’ll need; what toiletries will keep you functioning and comfortable while sipping margaritas poolside; and how you'll go shopping with the money you most likely don't have.
Each packed item has a specific use for your time away, and while a few items might go unused, like that third pair of wedge heels that's just a slightly deeper shade of orange than your other pair, for the most part, you've packed your suitcase with a plan.
Oh, how nice were the days when clothing and toiletries were secondary to which toys you would bring? When it comes to divvying up your shoe collection now and carefully selecting your cast of dolls and their wardrobes then, the main goal has always been to evaluate utility (not that you knew you were doing something as sophisticated as that back then).
You just know that if you bring Miss Stacy, you can't bring Mr. Whiskers because they've just never been the same since that breakup...
Losing a toy
Reducing a grown man to tears and wild accusations is as easy as misplacing his favorite toy — his favorite technological toy, that is.
This could also go for losing a passport, concert ticket or driver's license, but when it comes to a missing laptop or phone, the stomach-sickening, heart-stopping, cold sweat-inducing sensation is the hallmark of an adult who has lost control of everything near and dear to him or her.
What will happen if I don't respond to his text message?! He's going to think I hate him and then I'll grow old and alone and what's even the point of living anymore?
We all know what happens when a kid loses a favorite toy, and while we've grown to curb that level of panic that's only appropriate for a 5-year-old, the feelings are still the same, and unfortunately, they don't become any less awful over time.
Some things just never change.