How to be young

Cry without feeling self-conscious. Go outside and play Wiffle ball. Listen to really, really bad music.

Actively try to be more popular. Look everyone in the eye and say hello. Then sing their names using that banana-nanna-fo-fanna song.
Pick an annoying pet word, like “crud” or “wanker” and say it all the time. Admire your pubes in the mirror, as if you just sprouted them.
When you meet people, remember their names. Don’t judge anybody. Don’t notice skin color, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, income, intelligence, social acumen, sports affiliation, body odor or fashion sense. Hate nobody.

Cry without an expectation of relief or reward. Spend a lot of time shopping for pencils and markers. Pay special attention to scents. Buy a big, fat, pink eraser. Daydream that your new eraser can be used to erase unfairness, terminal diseases and mean people.

Binge watch cartoons. Binge read Dr. Seuss and Captain Underpants. Binge eat ice cream. Binge smell the newly mown grass. Binge snuggle with the dog. Binge read comic books. Set aside a few hours just to whine about being bored.

Eat candy every chance you get. Even if you love asparagus, hold your nose and say “Ewwww” when you smell it cooking. Draw tongues and scars on people’s faces in magazines. Play “All About that Bass” on the kazoo.

Crawl. Roll down a hill. Do some somersaults. If you can’t physically do that stuff, get as close as you can.

Pray. Not for something to happen. Not for something not to happen. Just pray about how seriously cool it is that elbows and eyelashes are so low-maintenance. If you don’t believe in prayer, get as close as you can.

Buy a notebook and draw body parts in it. Look up dirty words in the dictionary. (Not a digital dictionary but an honest-to-god book dictionary.) When you learn new dirty words from the definitions, look them up too. Continue until you run out of dirty words.

Go to the park and shoot baskets alone. Pretend you are an unknown talent and NBA scouts are watching you. Shoot some baskets from the half-point line. Only remember the ones that go in.

Ride a horse. When you are done, groom the horse and muck some stalls. Give the horse an apple and a kiss (but don’t braid its tail – that makes some horses self-conscious).

Cry because you mean it. Start a diary and write the name of someone you secretly love in it over and over again. If there are I’s in the name, dot them with hearts. Draw a lot of pictures of the horse you rode. Write a stern warning on the outside of your diary that anyone who reads it will suffer the immediate loss of his or her genitalia. Leave the diary in a high-traffic spot and watch it from a secret location.

Complain loudly that things will be different when you’re in charge. Talk on the phone for a really long time about nothing at all. Get into all sorts of convoluted body positions on the couch while you’re talking on the phone, maybe upside down with your head near the floor and your feet on the top of the couch.

Record a toilet flushing and play it back for everyone to hear. Put on some loud music and play air guitar. Use a hairbrush as a microphone and lip-sync in the mirror. Dance until your hair is messed up and then use the hairbrush-microphone to brush your hair.

Drive like you just got your driver’s license. Be super careful behind the wheel as if any mishap could ruin the prom, then stomp the pedal and speed up to 90 miles per hour the first chance you get. Whip the wheel back and forth to go in a serpentine pattern. Roll down the windows, crank up an impolite song and sing along to the music.

Throw your arms around your own shoulders and pretend you are kissing someone. Ride a bike. Pop a wheelie. Give someone a gift for no reason. Leave home without your phone. Spin around in circles really fast.

Make a homemade ice cream float with vanilla ice cream and root beer. Suck it through a straw until long after it’s all gone, making that awful empty-glass sucking sound. Continue sucking until someone in your family threatens to kill you. Repeat.

Make a list of ways to be young. Do everything on the list.