Lemonheads & Sugar Water: An Ode to Bittersweet Nostalgia

When did life become so damn complicated? When did bills become the most important thing in my life? When did headaches and stress become the norm while laughter and silliness fell by the wayside? Can someone please tell me when we lost our spontaneous spirits and, instead, replaced them with a rigid must-follow agenda? Days of begging mama for a dollar, so I could go to the candy lady and get a bag full of Lemonheads and sugar water, are nothing but a distant memory.

I’d lie in the itchy grass and just wait.

Waiting on time to pass me by; waiting on life to hurry up and start. But it had already started. I was thinking it was going too slow. Now, though, I’m praying for it to slow down.

Just give me back the slow days of mosquito slapping, kool-aid guzzling, pig-tail braiding until my fingers were numb and under the star games of truth or dare. I’d give anything to be carefree as I was when I thought I was square. But, you know, no one tells you that all of your “kiddy games” will be a source of nostalgia in the future. I just want to be square again.

And see, I know it’s not just me; maybe that’s the weird thing. You’d think that by now, someone would’ve written a tell-all book, which would be required reading in high school, that lists out the cons of getting older. Maybe, just maybe, then I would’ve slowed down- while I was in such a rush to grow up. Maybe then I would’ve taken drama for what it was…drama. Maybe then I would’ve laughed off hurtful comments instead of crying over them. Maybe then I would’ve embraced my differences because my tell-all book would’ve told me that “The older you get, the more you blend into the crowd.” I’d clutch my tell-all book as boys sniffed around me like an alcoholic around tequila, and wave them off because everyone knows “Your first love is rarely your true love.” I’d save those tears, those hours of begging and those countless discussions with my team of experts (read: my friends), and turn to page 275 in my book. “If a man wants to stay nothing you can do can make him leave. If he wants to go, nothing you can do can make him stay.” But see, I guess that’s the beauty of growing up, a book can’t tell you what you have to experience for yourself. A book can’t feel hurt, betrayal, pain and joy. But it would’ve been good to know what I was rushing into.

I’m in the middle of a crisis. A quarter life crisis. I’m not sure if I’m coming or going but I know what my dreams are. I dream proud and I dream loud. I dream because I can. But my life is far from perfect. I make mistakes, I pick myself up and I try to keep going. My pride has been bruised so many times that you’d think it was gone. But I’ve learned that pride rarely has a place in my life. I stress about where I’m going, what I’m doing and if I’m living up to my highest potential. I find myself frequently staying up at night wondering what I’m bringing to society. Who will remember me when I’m gone and what will it be for? God don’t let it be because I was rushing to jump into a world that I, now, don’t know how to maneuver through. There isn’t a guide, or a tell-all book, to help my crisis out and maybe that’s the beauty of it all.

 But, still, I can’t help but think that life would be easier, more carefree, if you will, if all I had to worry about was Lemonheads and sugar water.