17 Things We Actually Miss About Being a Teenager, Like Going Home At 3 P.M.

I'm not gonna mince words here: High school was terrible. But somewhere inside that funnel cloud of awkwardness, drama, and really ill-advised haircuts, there were actually some awesome parts. Yes, I am saying there were some great things about being a teenager that I genuinely miss now. I know, I know, but before you burn me at the stake, hear me out.

I'm certainly not saying that the high school years were the best days of our lives. I mean, I now get to wear really short skirts whenever I feel like it, have boys over with the door closed, and buy beer without paying someone's older brother 50 bucks — all of which which certainly beats the hell out of being grounded for talking to my mother like that, young lady. But as an adult, I've shocked myself by finding that there are actually a few things I miss about being a teen.

While I personally spent my teenage years terrified of boys, constantly angry about nothing, and strangely preoccupied with shaving my head in order to impress Ani DiFranco, I can find some stuff to remember fondly from those years. And trust me: If I can, any of you can. Here are 17 things about been a teenager that were actually pretty great.


Three months with nothing to do except maybe show up for some totally low-impact job a few days a week? You have to be a Kardashian to live like this now.


Yes, inside jokes are not just for teenagers. You and your cubicle mate probably have nine or ten of them going right now. But when was the last time you had the time, energy, and inclination to come up with an inside joke so complicated that it required code names and a special devoted notebook to keep all the details straight? And yes, you had a notebook like that, don't lie to me.


Artificial additives? "Natural flavors"? Red dye #87? Whatever they make Mountain Dew out of? Bring it on! Bring it all on! We're young! We're gonna live forever, no matter what questionable partially hydrogenated food stuffs we ingest!

EXERCISING BECAUSE YOU had excess energy

Not because you have to or your back will get all knotted up and weird.


Unlike adult sick days, which are sullied by problems like "working from home" and being "actually sick," sick days were a great way to fit in a tight seven hours of TV watching, and still have about five hours to shoot the shit with your friends online afterwards.


A magical sick day shared with 1,000 of your classmates! How shocked were you when you grew up and realized you're still expected to show up for work when this bullshit happens?


Not to overly romanticize stuff like your first tongue kiss (how did you get that much spit EVERYWHERE?), your first car (always smelled like cheese fries, even though no one had ever eaten cheese fries inside it), or your first serious boyfriend (we know high school pickings were slim), but there is a special excitement that comes with trying things for the first time. Especially things that don't turn out to be that interesting the 10,000th time you do them.


Obsessive crushes on random people that you had barely ever even talked to were torturous, sure. But it was also kind of fun to spend all your waking hours obsessing over some dude because he had awesome hair, instead of discussing your ten-year-plan over gelato with some okay-ish guy you found on OKCupid.


When again in your life will you ever be so well-served by someone else's hangover? And yes, in retrospect, all of your teachers who showed you movies in class were hungover. All of them.


Or maintaining totally pointless blogs. Or making goofy movies with your friends in your backyard. Not because you saw a professional future in any of it, but just because it was a fun way to spend one drop of your seemingly infinite free time.


Yeah, getting up at 6 a.m. was terrible, but it turns out that working until 7 p.m. is actually pretty terrible, too.


You know, instead of having to plan for a drinks date two weeks in the future after the semester is over/things have calmed down at work/whatever other boring adult time-sucking problems you have solved themselves. Imagine how much breaking for a half hour in the middle of the day every day to hang out with people you genuinely liked would take the edge off now.


Remember? The one who taught you about Sonic Youth and almost definitely smoked pot? Can you believe that a person in their late twenties or early thirties actually voluntarily spent all that extra time teaching you about cool books and music and other stuff that would make you seem kinda sophisticated in college? There are truly saints who walk among us.


At what other time in your life can you be so totally confident that the world would be a perfect place if everyone would just vote Democrat, or become a vegan, or read The Perks of Being a Wallflower ? Sure, it made you a pain in the ass to be around, but it was comforting to think that you had some answers (as opposed to life as adult, when you definitively know that you have zero answers).


Your parents were being total dicks when they said stuff like, "I wish I had the time to be bored." But they were also totally right. Imagine a weekend with nothing to do. No chore lists to check off; no weddings, wedding showers, bachelorette parties, engagement parties, or baby showers to attend; no work projects that you're going to have to spend almost the whole weekend working on. As a teenager, this was why you were bored and angry and drank wine coolers all the time; as an adult, just thinking about a totally boring, obligation-free weekend is making me slightly sexually aroused.


Yeah, your responsibilities felt totally crushing at the time. But it turns out that being on the hook for taking minutes at the drama club meeting is actually a lot lower impact than being responsible for, uh, every single aspect of your own life.

the feeling that your whole life is ahead of you

Sure, adults can start over. We can still change careers or reinvent ourselves after a divorce or move to a new place just for the sheer adventure of it. But it takes a hell of a lot of effort to change your future after a certain point. But in high school, you pretty much have a guaranteed total life reboot staring you in the face at the end, no matter what. Everything is still ahead, and that's a great feeling.

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