The innocence of youth

It has recently come to my attention, mainly due to my (just) 13 year old sister, the absolute lack of said innocence among the YOUTS of today. I do also realise how ridiculous this sounds as I am only at the tender age of 23 myself, but what the fuck is going on with kids these days? Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always a bad thing. My sister is a very wise young girl. Not often do you find 11/12 year olds telling you things like the below:

– After me moaning about work and how tired I was: “Briony please stop with this pity sorry job. At the end of the day, you chose this job, you chose this life.”
– When I got back from work one day and was quite severely hungover, and she decided to lecture me on my excessive drinking: “You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
– Following me breaking up with my boyfriend and feeling like the biggest bitch known to man: “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will bless you with a new hello.” (This is true, she informed me, because she saw it on Tumblr)

I know what you’re thinking. I did also wonder whether she is actually the next Gandhi. But seeing her with her friends and hearing them chat among each other made me think how mature and grown up they sound, in a lot of ways. While this can be a good thing (I love her nuggets of wisdom in times of need, even if she is slagging off my life choices), I do think in a way it is quite sad. They’re growing up too quickly. She’s not exactly a child but its been like this for a while now… I’m not saying that she’s a mini crack dealer or anything- she won’t even drink when I try and get her to (yes, I’ve been told this is wrong) and the closest she’s got to swearing lately is ‘fudge off’. But as Essex as Essex is and always has been, I didn’t have a contract phone when I was 6, start getting spray tans at the age of nine, or EVER ask my mum why she didn’t have Snapchat, because she ‘didn’t HAVE to send explicit images’ if she got it (another classic Lily quote).

So rather than a rant about the sadness of this, I thought I would dwell on the innocence of the kids that were before, aka anyone born in my generation. Cos we’re obviously fucking awesome. And I’m not saying these were things just in my childhood before you haters start hating (I have seen such articles), it’s just a wonderful list of memories…

Things that were great

-Playing out. All your mates coming round to your house, knocking on your door and asking your parents if you were coming out (this would now sound like an opportunity for a homosexual confession that they’ve been suspecting). Then riding around the green on your bikes. Who knew that could bring so many hours of joy?
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– Going to meet someone, and just having to be there at the right time because of the lack of mobile communication. “See you at the crossroads” was a literal thing for us, not just a terrible song by greasy boys. If they didn’t turn up then you just had to stand there, gazing longingly at the phone box and wondering if they’d left home yet, but coming to the sad realisation that you had no change so you’d never know. Even if you did they could pick up and the dial up Internet would cut out… No one wants that.
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– Going through the Argos catalogue and noting down everything you wanted for Christmas, which was pretty much everything in there. It had it all.
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– The mind blowing graphics of computer games back then. I know Bamboozled wasn’t strictly a computer game, but look at the smile on that bad boy. Completing Crash Bandicoot on my PS1 covered in teddy bear stickers was one of my proudest moments.
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– The unbeatable excitement, every term, of getting a new pencil case and stationary.
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– Tamagotchis being banned in your school because no one payed attention in class just in case the undefinable blob on screen missed its hourly feed and died. But you taking it in anyway, cos you were such a G.
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– TV programmes. Who love orange soda? KEL love orange soda. We had it all… horribly drawn cartoons, ninja turtles feasting on pizza, trashy american teen shows, a guy who had a bit of a scuffle on a basketball court and got sent to stay with his aunt (you KNOW you all know the tune). And what isn’t to love about the sheer amount of anger and hyperactivity that Power Rangers instilled in small children?
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– Horrendous clothing. One of the worst that I remember was the polyester skirt and trousers combo. Oh yes, they were sewn together. Skousers maybe? My mum also used to put my hair into a very high pineapple and back comb it- I still haven’t worked out whether this was a trendy 90’s look or just a laugh on her part.
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– Polly pockets, when they were genuinely small enough to swallow.
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– Stick on earrings. A new pair for EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH you say? We’ll just forget those months with 31 days in, it’s just so exciting. Not even getting started on the joy of visiting Claire’s accessories and getting a new scrunchie.
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– When guys with curtains were SO hot.
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– Want something snazzy to wow people with because you’re such a computer whizz? Oh yeah I’ll type that up on Microsoft word 1997 with some cheeky blue wavey word art… Boom. What was that? You think a picture would look good, if only it were possible on my giant dirty white monitor? TAKE SOME CLIP ART BITCHES. I know, it blew my mind the first time i saw it too. You wait until you see my fly in rotatingflipspinsqueal entrance for the images on the Powerpoint version of this bad boy… All while the strange lurky paper clip with eyes is asking ‘Would you like help?’ Thinking Word Art looked good in any way, I probably did. In hindsight.
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– Pretending you were smoking with candy sticks
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– Mr Motivator. Could any one person possibly make you more motivated??
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– Sitting and listening to the chart on the radio, so that you push the wonderful red button and record your favourites. On cassette.
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– The music. I always really, really, REALLY wanted to zig-a-zig-AAAAAA. Who knows if I ever did. Or will.
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– Pulling all of the cushions off of the sofas, arranging them on the floor and pretending you were a Gladiator. When that got dull you could always pretend the floor was molten lava and hop from one to the other…
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– Mugging off the younger kids at school because they didn’t realise that shiny card they had was worth WAY more than your plain old Charizard. Fools. Then Pokemon cards getting banned for that exact reason.
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– Everyone standing in the playground perfecting their yo-yo skills. If you were REALLY cool then yours lit up while you were mastering the cradle/walk the dog/ Eiffel tower tricks. Then that getting banned too (I’m still not sure why but it seemed to be a common theme).
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– Singing playground songs and SKIPPING. With big ropes. The thought of running into something like that now terrifies me.
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– Boardgames. The Game of Life and Mousetrap still amaze me.
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– Those strange jelly alien things in a pod. Yes, I tried sticking them together for a bit in the hope that it was true they would actually have babies… They didn’t.
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– Glitter is obviously one of the best things in life. But glitter with shapes in, that you can apply ALL OVER YOUR BODY so you look like a shiny fish? It blew my mind.
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There are so many more but I realised this has already got a bit long. WOOOOO NINETIES YEAH! Good times.

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