When I was eight years old, I decided the perfect age to be was16.
It seemed to make sense then, because 16-year-olds can drive and my plastic Barbie convertible was probably the coolest thing in my life at that time.
But eight-year-old me would have been seriously disappointed to learn that16 actually ended up being quite a terrible year.
For one thing, the cool 16-year-olds portrayed in movies are actually 26-year-olds in real life, and it’s really hard to replicate that coolness when most of your friends still have acne and none of you can actually drive without your parents.
Second, driving with your parents involves a lot less glamour and a lot more stress and tears (on both ends) than I remember experiencing while playing with my Barbie convertible.
Also, my Grade 10 science teacher told me I had to stop bringing my Barbie pillow to class to make the lab stools more comfortable because it was a “safety hazard.”
So at 16, I decided that 20 was probably the ideal age. Now that I am 20, I can affirm that in many ways, it is.
Right now, I’m in a rare position where I can enjoy many of the benefits of adulthood without all of its responsibilities.
My tax returns are not accompanied by multiple bills and my status as a university student means I can contribute intelligently to conversations while still getting away with eating excessive amounts of Kraft Dinner (the fact that I still live at home is irrelevant—Kraft Dinner binges are a rite of passage for all university students).
However, I never imagined how much 20-year-old me would envy eight-year-olds. And this envy is intensified by the fact that I live with one.
During the school year, my eight-year-old brother understandably complains about having to go to bed early, but after a full day of classes, public transit and pretending to be a responsible adult, I always wish I could just flop into bed at the same time as him.
My little brother also holds an advantageous position because when he goes laser tagging, he’s allowed to be completely ruthless with the other kids there.
But when I go laser tagging, I get disapproving looks from parents if I tell kids they’re going down in the next round.
Laser tagging is one of my favourite activities and I really don’t think it’s fair that eight-year-olds get a monopoly on the use of force in that game.
So now, I am convinced that eight really is the ideal age.
But regardless of age, I think all of us need to let out our inner child from time to time.
And this doesn’t necessarily mean we have to surrender our identity as mature adults.
When I saw the Lego movie for the second time and was busy making myself sick with gummy worms and M&Ms, I was also planning how I could use the society portrayed in the Lego movie as an illustration in my next political science paper.