If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t go back again. What’s been is gone, with nothing left but what’s to come. Although I’ve always lived my life on the concept that one should never have regrets, there’s nothing wrong with missing certain aspects of one’s past. It’s encouraged, in fact. After all, as philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Of course, I believe he was referring mostly to being mindful of the lessons learned from our mistakes, so as to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future.
I was on a popular blog site this afternoon, when I came across a post about what people miss about the 90’s. The 1990’s were an exciting decade for me. I was never a fan of “boom-chick” music that seemed to be all the rave (see what I did there?) in the 90’s, preferring the more classic versions of true rock that emerged in the 1980’s, despite the hair and scrotum-strangling jeans that came with it.
It got me thinking about the specific things I miss about the 1990’s, and since I haven’t written one of my wonderful lists in quite a while, I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity. Without further ado, here is my top seven things I miss about the 1990’s:
- No Social Media: I’m coming’ out swinging on the first one and it may not be a popular or shared opinion. But I miss the days when social media DIDN’T rule the world. The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were barely an idea in some nerd’s brain at this point, and life seemed all the better for it. People actually did things together in groups (imagine that?) instead of spending nights up chatting online;
- Gaming Systems: Oh, to have an original NES system at my disposal… I use an online emulator to play some of my old favourites like Super Mario Bros. 3, but it’s just not the same. And yes, I totally get the irony of bashing on technology while admitting I use it to revisit the past. Let’s not go there! The arrival of the N64 changed gaming forever with the two best games for group parties: 007: GoldenEye and Super Mario Kart 64. It always felt as though we could play those games forever and never get tired. Games these days are all purchased on one’s phone or tablet. It lacks a certain “je ne sais quoi…”;
- Television Was Better: Many may argue on this point, and I’ll admit I’d have difficulty living without the miracle that is the MCU, but television in the 1990’s was LIT! TGIF lineup on Friday nights, movies that didn’t have a bunch of CGI thrown in and if you missed an episode of your favourite show, you were pretty much fucked as you couldn’t go back and rewatch it like you can on streaming services today. But the overall content just felt more real and genuine;
- There Were No Cell Phones: Smart phones have made our lives easier in so many ways, I’ve lost count. Emailing, scheduling, surfing the internet… Not to mention using it as a phone! But there was something liberating about knowing you could leave the house and not be pestered by texts, calls and emails at all hours of the day. Just because it’s convenient doesn’t make it good! It seems as though there’s simply no way to just “get away” these days, short of turning your phone off. And then you have to explain to folks why your phone was off and you ignored their contact. It’s a mess;
- Things were cheaper: I’m probably wrong about this, but the 1990’s felt like the last decade before inflation starting bending us over a log and jamming a red-hot poker up in there! Back in the mid-90’s when I got my driver’s licence (and purchased my own first vehicle), gasoline was only 56 cents per litre! Can you imagine? I had no idea how good I had it! Gasoline is currently 1.22 cents per litre, and when it dropped into the 90’s during there pandemic, people lost their fuckin’ minds! I used to work at a Catholic church’s bingo hall every Thursday night, collecting bingo cards for $15. On Tuesdays, I would walk or bike to my local corner store and purchase all four latest Superman comic titles, as well as a diet soda and a bag of chips for about $5. Financially, I was living large! Nowadays, it pretty much costs the $5 to purchase ONE comic book, let alone three of them with snacks;
- I Was Home: In a lot of ways, I don’t miss being a kid or a teenager. Living under someone else’s rules has never been my forte, but I had no idea how good life was. Everything was provided, I was safe and comfortable and I was with my family with my whole life ahead of me, and I had my Sensei and my karate school available to me. Although many would agree that being an adult and making your own way through life holds its own aspects of freedom, youth brought its own freedom, as well;
- Everything Was Fresh And New: Most people who think back on their adolescence will find memories of everything they did for the first time. Getting their driver’s licence, that first vehicle, first job, first girlfriend, first everything with said girlfriend… cough, cough… But now, the stress of adult life has watered down most things. I remember getting my first car. It was an absolute piece of shit. A two-door 1986 Toyota hatch back, 3-speed manual transmission. Yes, you read that right: 3-speed! But I loved that car to the moon and back, despite it’s poor condition and for performance. In April of 2018, I purchased a new-to-me sports coupe because my previous vehicle’s transmission exploded on the highway (you know the car, it’s the one I wrote about in Goodbye, Sweet Car…🎶). And all I could think of at the time, was how I now had a new bill to pay every month. Some of the innocence is lost.
Folks, we can’t go back again. This much is certain. But we can always look back fondly on the good things that we experienced, even if at times we didn’t realize they were good things. Every emotion, every action and every experience we went through in our past helped to define the people we are today. And unless you’re a career criminal or intentionally make other people suffer, who you are is pretty great.
What are some of the things you miss most about your adolescence? Feel free to leave your best memory in my comments section. ☯