Windbreakers. Nintendo 64. Ribbon Dancers. Walkmans. Fanny Packs. Aladdin. Squeeze Its. Pogs. Blockbuster. Trampolines. These took you back, right? Were you a Mario-Kart-er or a Donkey Kong-er? Could you burn your CDs or did your friend’s sister do it for you? Each of these speical items helped to define childhood memories I have to come not only deeply appreciate, but also desperately want for kids now.
If you have ever read a post about an early millennial missing the 90s this post will likely be no different. It’s simply my take on the decade of my youth. And don’t get me wrong there are many, many things that I covet now that have only come along in the last 16 years. The fact that I didn’t have to wait for a dial up connection to write this blog post for one. My Starbucks iPhone app that I use weekly, and my Netflix streaming service that I use daily also round out the top of that list. But, I feel an incredible fondness for growing up in the last decade of the 20th century and here is why.
When I think of after school as a 90s kids, I think of Full House, the Carmen Sandiego game show, finding a trampoline to jump on, or riding our bikes till someone called us home. In the summer, we would have laughed at staying inside. Who had a pool? Did it have a slide? A diving board? No pool. Where’s the slip-n-slide? Can we ride our bike to Burger King? Can we tie dye something? Then at night or if it happened to rain, we would hope that Legends of the Hidden Temple would be on Nickelodeon, and we would cheer on some kid our age to win a Super Soaker or some new Nikes. (The horror if a kid today won a Super Soaker! Ha!) No Legends? Do you have any of the Mighty Ducks movies?
It’s obviously the understatement of the year to say that kids in today’s culture have so many more distractions than we did. I am certain all of us have wanted to scream before at someone to get the tablet or phone out of a kid or teenager’s hand and show them where to find a book or a bike. They have access to anything on the Internet – their favorite shows and movies and the newest music and games. Instant gratification literally a click away. And Oh, how much quicker that brings on growing up!
It’s also hit me, that while I was out knocking on someone’s door asking to jump on their trampoline at 10 years old, kids today can jump on a digital trampoline on their Wii. And while I would spend hours in my driveway or yard with friends making up dances to Grease, Britney, or the Backstreet Boys, wannabe dancers now can Dance Dance Revolution themselves inside all day, every day.
For me, it’s frustrating that kids/teens now have no idea what it is like to have to wait for a CD to come not or a movie to hit Blockbuster…and then to show up and it be sold out. They will never stand in line for concert tickets, or know what it is like to miss an episode of their favorite show and have no way to watch it, and heaven forbid you have to sit through the commercials. They will also never have to wait through a busy signal to talk to their friend, who they called on a landline, after waiting for their mom, dad, or brother to get off the freakin’ phone.
Maybe I am being overly pessimistic that these delayed gratifications of my childhood have made me more of a well-rounded, patient, and appreiative citizen than those of the non-brick Nokia generation. But I can’t help and feel lucky that I was a part of it. Hey, we all still figured out that blowing into your Nintendo game somehow made it work. We didn’t need social media for that…
So, this X-files junkie, Wilson Phillips lover, and indoor-mall goer is signing off. Glad for her email and Amazon 2-Day shipping, but still wishing that mall tours, Movie Gallery, and roller blading were cool.
Until Next Time…