Woe is lee: Reflecting on childhood and growing up

I’m no expert in the field of childhood. As a 17-year-old, I don’t nearly have as much experience as my parents or elders that talk about their “distant memories.” But at 17, there are clear points in my fuzzy memories that the childhood me couldn’t live without, the first being Disney Channel.

disney Woe is lee: Reflecting on childhood and growing up
Shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, and Wizards of Waverly Place premiered during Disney Channel’s prime time.

Disney channel made up the bulk of my elementary school life. I’d come home and watch “Hannah Montana,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

The only debates I actively participated in were choosing between Jake and Jesse or deciding whether Zack or Cody was the better twin. Let’s also not forget the “High School Musical” trilogy. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to has watched and fallen in love with young Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens’ love story. I mean, who couldn’t fall in love with “High School Musical”? It’s a story where popular jocks fall in love with nerdy brainiacs, and students find their passions for things they’d never expect. It gave me a completely false perspective of what high school is, but I couldn’t help but hope that I would find “the one” at a high school party while singing karaoke songs.

Overall, Disney Channel gave me an optimistic view of life and allowed me to look forward to the future. Though the shows I watch currently give me a more accurate representation of adulthood, I’ll always miss the childhood happiness and entertainment that Disney Channel always provided. I genuinely loved Disney Channel, and I hope that the shows now will have the same impact on young kids as it had on me.

I constantly yearn for the days where we had recess and nap time. In second grade, as soon as the bell rang, I remember running straight to the monkey bars. They were my speciality; all I had to do was go across and back four times and do one of those flips, convincing everyone I was a professional gymnast. I had my routine perfectly down and had wooed all the elementary boys with my spectacular monkey bar skills.

Now that I’m in high school, I’ve realized that a “nutrition break” is just a sorry excuse for recess, and without my monkey bars, I find myself just walking back and forth on campus waiting for the bell to ring with my friends. What’s the fun in that?

Going further back through history, nap time was, by far, my favorite. I remember never actually sleeping in my pink, mini felt sleeping bag. Instead, during that hour or so, I’d whisper to my friends, also in matching pink sleeping bags, and the teacher would consequently scold us. I don’t ever regret those few yellow slips I received reminding me to stay on task.

Out of all of these memories, the one thing I miss the most is playing with other kids in the park playground. When I was playing on that playground and other kids I’ve never met asked to join, I automatically said yes. As a kid, it didn’t matter to me who they were, what they looked like or where they came from. I just wanted to play with other kids my age.

However today, it’s the complete opposite. I find in high school, I’m always on my phone. I never go outside anymore because I’m always studying, doing homework or watching “Queer Eye.” Now, with smartphones and social media, there’s so many standards that people have to meet to become close friends and hang out with others. Whenever I’m talking to my friends outside of school, it’s through the phone and not in person. I just long for the time when we had no distractions or phones to get us through the day. If I had to survive a day without my phone, to be honest, it would be torture.

My entire life seems like it revolves around this contraption of glass and aluminum, and sometimes, I wish it didn’t exist.

 Woe is lee: Reflecting on childhood and growing up
Kids are introduced to technology at a very young age and become very attached to their devices, decreasing the amount of natural, organic time they have to spend with others.

Nevertheless, I’m thankful for the benefits my phone provides. Without it, I most likely wouldn’t be able to talk to friends outside of school at all or ask people for help with homework. It connects us to the world in ways that the childhood me wouldn’t be able to understand, and I’m glad for that.

Even though I miss all these aspects of my childhood, I’m happy to be where I am now. Of course, there have definitely been better days, and high school is not the most fun, considering all the rigor and hard work that goes into trying your best. But, really, I’m looking forward to what the future has in store for me.

I’ll be going to college next year, and I can’t believe it. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was walking into first grade with my high pigtails, my striped dress, and my teal monogrammed lunch box. I’ll always miss those days, and to be honest, if someone offered me a chance to go back in time in a time machine, I’d probably say yes in a heartbeat, but I’m excited for the new opportunities, activities and memories that adulthood will throw my way.

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