Being born in the mid-’80s means I got to really appreciate one of the best decades yet – the ’90s. Not to say the here and now isn’t pretty great, but I do feel like the children of today missed out on a lot of incredible things that us ’90s kids were abundantly blessed with:
1. Television: Although growing up in our house out in the country meant 5 channels with our rabbit ears, or sometimes 6 to 7 if our neighbour’s satellite dish was pointing the right way, the ’90s still meant the best of the after school show. I’m talking the best of the best here, yet to be dethroned by any of the current day options. Shows like Fresh Prince, Saved by the Bell, Family Matters – they taught us how to unrealistically get out of any lie (thanks Zach), that being loud, proud and funny was acceptable (thank you Will), and that family wasn’t just your blood, but the people you could always count on to have your back (thanks Carl Winslow). Most importantly there was ZERO reality television causing us to mimick and idolize, to be frank, idiots.
2. Toys & Games: Before the age of incredible graphics in the video games of today, the ’90s toys were just as, if not more exciting than any WoW or GTA scene could be. Remember skip-it?? My sisters and I used to have what felt like fingernail biting competitions to see whose counter would reach the highest number, the fastest, without missing a step. It was the age of Waterfall Ring Toss and Mash. We filled our spare time playing Pogs, Hacky Sack and scribbling crazy mad libs. It might be because the children in my life are mostly located in the city and I know it is because of the crazy technology that we are plugged into ALL DAY LONG, but it certainly feels like we spent a great deal more time outside, a little more free.
3. Music: Um, how about I saw the Sign and really anything Ace of Base? It was the boom of electronic music, but also the rise of Miss. Spears before 2007 happened to her, and Spice Girls reigned queens of every young girls heart – fashion sense too, unfortunately. No Doubt was dealing with teenage angst with every single that dropped, Pearl Jam fronted by the legendary Eddie Vedder made social change their message and Alanis was reminding every man not to mess with a girl with pipes. Not to mention REM, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Counting Crows, Weezer, The Presidents of the United States of America and Oasis to name but a small selection of the greats of the ’90s.
4. Lack of Connection: I do not want to gripe on the present day advancements in technology, buuut…. they suck. They suck the life out of you, and the life out of life. I am guilty of it too – being too available, too connected. But, I am working on it. Yes, we had MSN and AOL Messenger to connect to friends, and let’s not forget everyone’s first embarrassing email address as we didn’t yet understand the longevity or importance the medium would take. We also had to sit through the painstakingly and incredibly slow connection of dial-up, which I am sure was a deterrent to sitting at the computer for hours upon hours as we do now. Let’s also not forget how much having a cell phone, never mind smart phone, was a novelty and quite a big deal. You definitely didn’t see mass amounts of people, in public, hunched over a tiny box, staring into the screen for anywhere near the amount of time of current day.
The ’90s are arguably one of the last great decades that we will ever see. I’m glad I was of a age to remember a lot of what was popular or how we spent our days when we weren’t outside under our maple trees that encompassed the back yard, making mud-pies and maple-leaf rolls stuffed with gunk as our ‘cabbage rolls’, imagining our childhoods away. What are your favourite memories of the 90s? I can almost guarantee I’ve forgotten a bunch, as the ’90s were way to good to contain in a simple post.