Okay so our childhoods weren’t… great. Like, they were fine. There are advantages to being older, is all we’re saying! But even we catch ourselves wanting to be kids again every now and then. Well, until we think about it too hard. But there’s something about having no responsibilities and only being worried about your immediate friendships that’s so appealing.
Like, what if we wanted to stop worrying about how much cheese costs for one second? And remember how great it was to have no sense of how much money’s worth? $20 might as well have been $20 million, let alone $100. Because it turns out money is kinda expensive. You mean if we work for an hour at a shitty job, after tax, we’ll still barely be able to afford bubble tea, or a lunch out? Damn. The same thing applies to our perception of time—a 30 minute car ride would feel like we were heading all the way out of town. Now, a whole month passes by like 30 minutes.
While you’re still living in childhood, it’s easy to get sucked into the small things. Getting a new toy? Amazing! Being able to watch your favourite TV show after school? Best news ever! Parents bought your favourite snack? Life is sweet. However, as children we are only so limited with our worldviews, what we know, and what we pay attention to. One small good thing meant everything else was also good. Getting told off (to put it lightly) is all okay because we got that other thing that we really like—and that’s really all that matters in the end, right? And because we were children, we were supposed to bounce back from anything good as new… right?
Childhood was also a time of relative innocence. Sure, maybe that’s just because we’re all perpetually online now, but we do miss lacking knowledge of systemic racism. At least, less thorough knowledge. We had a sense of it when kids made fun of our lunches, the way we spoke, and the way we look. But at least in childhood there was the loving arms of Poptropica and Wii Sports characters to catch us. The world would always resolve itself at the end of the 10 minutes of a Spongebob episode. Sure, kids were mean, but it did somehow seem easier to find the good stuff in all the mess. Maybe because everything was novel, and the world was still wonderful and mysterious. Now we’ve all done too many drugs and been fucked too much (by the universe that is, get your mind out of the gutter).
But for real, we remember a time when we really did believe that if you worked hard, you wouldn’t face any obstacles. A time when girls were just as good as boys and that was it, end of story. Now, we have to deal with all the complicated, hard stuff about systemic inequality and pay gaps and policing of bodies. Y’know, concepts that are hard to understand until your frontal lobe is more developed. And on that note, if you’re going to whinge more about the lack of “manly” content, please stop emailing us. Seriously, we can’t take any more misogynist emails. Our tiny violin is getting tired.
But even if some of us are still acting like children, for the rest of us, that simple time was in the past, and we miss it. So, we’ve dedicated this issue to the past—how its shaped our present, and how it’ll shape our future. Sit back, and time-travel with us.
Flora Xie (she/her) and Naomii Seah (she/they).