A long time ago, life was a lot simpler. In the tiny tot years of our lives we weren't really concerned about anything besides playing, eating and avoiding bedtime at all costs. Our brains weren't filled with the knowledge of schooling, but rather what we were going to do that day. Our time frames were more us-centric, more focused on the now of it all; there was no bigger picture that worked its way into coloring or animal crackers. Looking back on my time in kindergarten, I get struck with nostalgia on how much I took for granted as a child: free food, nap time, the utter mundanity of kindergarten learning and a life free from the stress I seem to stockpile nowadays.

Instead of a meal plan that racked up thousands of dollars under the fee "room and board," snack time was priceless and a big part of the day. It didn't have to be gourmet to satisfy little kids; we were all content with juice boxes and goldfish most of the time. There was no walking to a dining hall in the snow and icy rain of Chicago or the blistering heat of Arizona (or wherever your climate extremes may be), the food got handed to you. And right after snack time came nap time.

Nap time was something that I personally wasn't fond of when it was announced — it left less time for play. However, as soon as my head was down I was out just like all the other tired tikes. Sleep during school now is like a four leaf clover or a double rainbow, people don't see a lot of it. Back then there were no responsibilities keeping us from precious rest like jobs, classes, exams and relationships. (OK, maybe you had a relationship in kindergarten, but you weren't going to sneak out of your cot to go kiss on the playground.)

Worked into all of this scheduled relaxation was a little bit of learning. Y'know, like writing your name in the lines, figuring out what the hell cursive is and why a "Z" looks like that and learning that 2+2 is not in fact 22, but 4. Far away were the days of differentiation in single variable calculus, the beasts of formatting and works cited and becoming bilingual to diversify yourself. And let's not forget that the grading scale was something along the lines of "poor, fair and excellent" instead of letters that could turn your life into finely crushed dust.

All nostalgia aside, I miss simplicity. The fact of the matter is that I (and I think most of us) took our childhoods for granted; there's nothing really wrong with that, it's what most people tend to do. We didn't know what we were in for or where our lives would take us. College wasn't something on the horizon for us, but something we watched older siblings go away to while we continued on with jungle gyms and swing sets. I wouldn't want to go back in time to stay there, adult life has much more to offer like freedom, adventure and love (cliché I know, but it's true). But I urge you to look back on your life to when you were the size of a stool and realize that simplicity is sometimes the best course of action. Realize that whenever life gets too hard, sometimes all you have to do is eat some Cheez-Its, have a nap and then go play in the sun.


Lead Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios