Hiding in coat racks, splitting ice pops, making snow angels: There are certain staples of our childhoods that seem to fade from our daily realities, aging out as we transition from sipping juice boxes to guzzling boxed wines.
There are reasons so many of us find ourselves guzzling that wine, of course. With record-high student debt, a limping job market and ever-mounting pressures to achieve professionally and stay constantly connected, being a mature 20-something adult is ridiculously stressful.
We barely have time for things like sleep and sex, much less pipe cleaner art. But we could all use a few reminders of the magic and ease of growing up; in fact, the best way to gain some sanity as an adult might actually be to revisit our habits from our blowing bubbles and playground days. Here are 15 things you shouldn't have to give up just because you're in your 20s.
1. Coloring to your heart's content
There's nothing like the smell of a brand new box of 120-color Crayolas. Whether or not you got your BFA, there's no shame in breaking out some crayons and going to town on the classics: stick figures, flowers, an eye. There may be something to putting wax to paper: Coloring can reportedly stimulate the brain and decrease stress.
2. Journaling the day away
We may have grown past the days of "Dear Diary, I think I like Alex!!" but that doesn't mean we need to quit. Adult life is hard to digest, and keeping a journal can help us focus and reflect. Research has found the benefits of journaling to include boosting your memory, improving mood disorders and improving health. Yes, the "Notes" app on your phone counts.
3. Playing tag with your friends
Think you can't get a raucous game of tag started in the woods behind that cabin that you're splitting with six friends? Playing tag is a socially-charged, super amusing way to trick yourself into the calorie-burning, mood-boosting benefits of running. Plus, all that dodging and quick turning actually engages the brain and increases directional skills. You're it.
4. Climbing trees like a pro
The recent popularity of indoor climbing proves it: Just because we're growing up doesn't mean we should give up our monkey tendencies. The best part about trees? They're a totally free way to engage the legs, arms, hands and, surprisingly, abdominal muscles. Not to mention, think of the view from the top.
5. Riding the ferris wheel
The teacups, the ferris wheel and the merry-go-round get a bad rap for being slower, less flashy and generally associated with people under five feet tall. But there's something to be said for skipping the roller coaster and opting for the simpler pleasure, the romance and the shorter line. Ryan Gosling proved it in The Notebook — the ferris wheel might be the most exciting thing at the whole damn fair.
6. Nap time whenever you want
Anyone who has ever worked an office job knows how strong that 3 p.m. nap time impulse is. While we can't always be so lucky to squeeze in some shut-eye during work, there are enormous benefits to snoozing in the off hours, from boosting productivity to improving our mood and increasing alertness. If it worked in kindergarten...
7. Bath time after a long day
A beer, some yoga, a nice massage — all staples of "adult" relaxation. But the best relaxation method probably dates back to our infant days, back when we knew the profound pleasure of taking a bath. Soaking in the bath may also aid sleep, help fight against colds and make you smell fantastic. And no judgment if you swap the rubber ducky for a glass of Pinot.
8. Eating ice cream as a full-body experience
When you took a lick of ice cream as a kid, your shoulders would rise, your body would shake, your eyes would widen, a smile would spread across your face... and half of it would go dripping down your arm. Digging into a sundae was a full-body experience. Our palates might have become more sophisticated, but our eating styles don't need to be.
9. Actually getting to blow out candles on your birthday cake
The staples of a 20-something birthday are as follows: a gathering of friends, limitless booze and a blend of '90s pop and Top 40 blaring on the speakers. Missing? An amazingly delicious birthday cake complete with your name and your age in candles. Don't think just because now that you're in your 20s you need to stick to the demurely topped creme brulee or tiramisu. This is your birthday, dammit, and you deserve to blow out something when you make a wish.
10. Splashing in puddles with abandon
Resign your hairstyle and your perfectly ironed pants — rainy days were meant for puddle jumping. Hey, jumping can increase your heart rate and build up your bone strength. But it's really just a fantastic way to get rid of stress and feel like life, as it was in our younger years, is consequence-free.
11. Sledding like a boss
While skiing and snowboarding might get all the hype, there's nothing like cruising on a sled during the first snow day of the season. All that running up and down the steep hill is practically cardio. Plus, getting outside and soaking in the vitamin D during the winter months is an amazing way to boost your mood and kick the winter blahs. But really, sledding is just super fun.
12. Making sandcastles
Don't sell yourself short. There's a craft to mixing water and sand together to form Bart Simpson, a mermaid or the Roman Colosseum. Besides, you don't even have to call it a sandcastle. Let's just say it's sand art or a sand sculpture. There are even adult contests for the pros.
13. Indulging in pizza and grilled cheese without having to call it "comfort food"
Sure, some of us count calories and join CrossFit gyms, but there will always be problems and dark days for which grilled cheese and tomato soup are the best solutions. Studies show that we might actually be comforted by that big bowl of macaroni and cheese because of who we associate our go-to foods with (i.e., mom). It's not a cheat day — it's science.
14. Jumping in a pile of leaves
The only thing that separates jumping in a huge pile of leaves as a child compared to as an adult is the fact you you probably raked the leaves yourself. The simple pleasure never grows old, and the added health benefits of an increased heart rate and increased bone density only makes the crunch of the leaves that much more satisfying. Take it from pups.
15. Walking, running and dancing around naked
Our younger selves weren't so self-conscious about what we looked like naked, running around our yards in the buff without thinking twice. Owning your body and becoming the "naked person" as an adult might be a great thing for you: Being naked can be a boon to your sleep cycle, your sex life and your private parts. And there's no better way to dance in your apartment — just ask Abbi from Broad City.