How Pretending It's the 1990s is Good for You
This concept is all that and a bag of chips
Okay, maybe I'm a bit biased. I had my own TV show in the '90s (BZZZ!) and it afforded me some unforgettable times.
I was young, wild, and FREEEEEEEE. WEEEEEEEE! But, really, it's not just my own life that I think about when I think about the 1990s. It's yours. Yes, you-you who were maybe just birthed into this world then. Let's pretend then is now.
Just for a moment.
"Be Here Now" has been my mantra forever. It was even my personalized license plate on my Ford Explorer back in the day (and by "the day," I mean the 90s)! So, since this "Be Here Now" concept is my thang, I do not wish to say that the past is better. It's not. Neither is the future. This moment is where it's at because it is literally… where. it. is. at.
BUT, there is a secret something that happened in the past that I believe we can all use for our betterment. Actually, the secret is not in what happened. The secret is in what didn't happen.
Sure, it existed, but not like now. Most people were not logged on 24/7. We didn't have smartphones, we had pagers. I don't know if you've ever seen a pager, but it's difficult to get lost inside the world of a pager. Unless you really, really, really like numbers.
So, without the internet distraction, we spent so much time talking and looking at each other, not down at a phone and not worrying about likes or comments. We were totally in the moment with each other. If we wanted to know if someone liked something we said or if they had a comment about it, we had to look them in the face and figure it out IRL. Which also made it difficult for people to remain anonymous so back then, trolls were kinda cute.
Kinda cute troll doll from the 90s Image by PublicDomainPictures from PixabayAlso, we had better neck health. Seriously, our necks are currently being stressed out from all of that looking down at our devices. It's a thing.
We Couldn't Pause Our Programs
So when we watched a show, we really watched a show. We couldn't IMDB an actor we didn't know. We couldn't immediately buy that Dr. Pepper-flavored Bonnie Bell lipgloss we just saw on a commercial. We just watched the commercial (that we couldn't fast forward) and made a mental note to buy the lipgloss later. In an actual, physical store. Yeah, it was a lot of work. I don't miss that bit.
We Didn't Have So Many Options
When I see all of those Facebook invites and IG stories telling you where to go for a good time, I can't help but remember my teenage times, when my friends and I spent a lot of energy searching for parties. If we didn't know of someone in our immediate circle who was having a house party, we had to search them out, with phone calls and sometimes, on foot!
On one memorable New Year's Eve, after we got kicked out of a house party we crashed, the four of us welcomed the New Year in from a Rite Aid parking lot in the Valley. Sounds terrible, I know. But here I am remembering it and writing about it decades later. So, I think it may have actually been a hashtag good time, back when hashtag was just a number sign.
The one thing I DO miss
I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this is, things, life, felt less overwhelming when there was less stuff around to overwhelm. It was easier to be present. And I know I can choose to put down my smartphone and live a more mindful life in the current here and now. But I freakin' LOVE technology and the ability to know anything and anytime so… I'm conflicted. And I feel bad for anyone who has lived their entire lives in an overwhelmed state and may not know that there's another way to live.
I watched the movie While We're Young, and in it, Adam Driver is part of a young couple who makes friends with an older couple. When one of the older characters, Ben Stiller's character, reaches for his phone to look something up, Adam stops him saying, "No, that's too easy. Let's try just try to remember."
Then the two couples are silent for a few moments. Ben reaches for his phone again and Adam stops him and all chill-like says, "Let's just not know what it is."
And I swear to God I took a deep breath and sighed out loud, "yeeeessssss."
So Every Once in a While, I Pretend It's the 1990s and I Can't Do the Things I'd Typically Do Now
I listen to a new song in its entirety, without Shazaming it to know who the artist is RIGHT AWAY. Because Shazam didn't exist in the '90s. I don't buy the thing I think I need RIGHT AWAY, because there's no Amazon. I wait and feel the moment I'm in and I can feel my mind relaxing when I do. I breathe better. "yeeeesssss."
I also feel like I am able to listen better to those I'm with when I'm not distracted by that tiny machine in my hands.
I realize that these short mind-traveling trips I take into the past (that I by no means wish to relocate to) remind me of a time when there was less, which somehow helps me be more.
More present, in my present.
Now please excuse me, I need to look up which character actually said those lines in that movie, and then I need to head over to Amazon to buy a family of Troll dolls, because they really are kinda cute.
(This post was first published in Atta Girl on Medium)