When I was nine, all I wanted to do with my life was be a princess, wear elaborate dresses, meet Prince Charming, play all of the time, and be generally as happy as the people I saw in the Disney Masterpiece Collection classics I watched until the VHS tape got ruined.

I’m twenty now.

Being a princess would be too much work. I’m American, and while I would love to fall for England’s royal family’s youngest, I couldn’t do the princess thing. I like to do things myself, and I don’t want a cathedral train on my wedding dress.

Real life forces you to keep a cleanly household (I guess it doesn’t require it, but I’m not the kind to willingly live in filth, so I would be required). You can’t clean the house in a hoop skirt and corset. And if you can, I’m bowing down to you.

You can’t play all of the time, though some people at my university would beg to differ. You have to work hard to earn money; you need money to live adequately. And once you start living real life, playing starts to mean taking a bath without someone bothering you.

Prince Charming can be perfect, I suppose, though I can’t contest at this time. Or, Prince Charming can turn out to be a crook or a cheat or a liar or mistake. Prince Charming can make you laugh, but there’s always going to be another wannabe princess—one with blonde hair and bigger boobs, a higher IQ and a cleaner, more politically correct sense of humor. Real life teaches a girl she can’t sit and wait for Prince Charming to find her shoe while rushing away from a party; he’s probably the reason you’re leaving the establishment in such a hurry. You can’t sit and wait for Prince Charming to hear you singing in the woods with the birds and the deer, decide he is madly in love with you, and live happily ever after. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have Eharmony.

Happiness isn’t as simple as Disney made it appear to be. It can be. Finding happiness can be one of the easiest tasks in the world, and for me, it generally is. I can find happy things to do. But actual and genuine happiness isn’t always so simple. I’m jealous of the happy people, who can be happy without trying. Some people’s happiness comes from family, a lover, lunch with girlfriends, working. Or happiness can require taking a Prozac every morning. Childhood happiness is perfect; adult happiness isn’t always.

And VCRs are painstaking to find now, so all of those Disney Masterpiece Collection classics on VHS are pointless unless you repurchase them all on DVD/Blue Ray.

Adult life doesn’t have quite as much magical bliss as childhood does.

I wish I was nine again.

Peter Pan had it right; growing up is lame.