[Flashback] What It Was Like As A 90s Kid

You don’t remember what it was like as a 90s kid? Yes you do. You know…you woke up to the sound of an alarm clock, since technology was not nearly as sophisticated back then. The snooze button only worked for one minute at a time so you didn’t have nine minutes to fall back asleep before it would go off again. After you woke up, you’d pour yourself a bowl of Lucky Charms or have a pop tart and watch your favorite cartoon…Scooby-Doo, Rugrats, Doug, Hey Arnold, The Powderpuff Girls, whatever it may be. After checking on your Tamagotchi, tormenting your sibling with a slap band, and sneaking a play with your dad’s pager, you slipped on either your jelly sandals or your light up sneakers and actually ventured outside to play. You knew all the kids in the neighborhood, but knew never to go out of sight of your front door. You owned a scooter, a bike, a skateboard, and roller blades but didn’t really know how to do much with any of them. Before lunchtime your mom would appear on the porch. She’d wave you inside and force you to pick up the telephone and call your grandmother to thank her for sending you a birthday card in the mail. After you left her a message on her answering machine, you’d have a short gaming session while mom made lunch…but this was no modern gaming session. There was no way to battle your friends from their houses, and even if there were, they were all outside playing. Instead, you’d fire up your Super Nintendo (or if you were spoiled, your Nintendo64) and play Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, or Sonic the Hedgehog on single player. During lunch you’d eat either Kraft Mac N Cheese with a Capri-Sun pouch, a Hot Pocket with a SunnyD, or on special occasions a lunchable! If you were lucky you’d get taken to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal when they actually came in a small, cardboard box with a legit toy and nothing but fat, greasy food with no substitution options. On the way home your mom would stop at Toys R Us but wouldn’t let you buy any more beanie babies because they were a waste of money even though everyone kept telling you “they’ll be worth something someday.” (They lied.) However, she would let you buy a new yo-yo because those were cheap and all the rage even though nobody quite knew how to “walk the dog.” If you were a boy, you probably wanted a bop-it, while the girls had their eyes on skip-its; but mom wouldn’t let you have either of those because they weren’t educational. You’d carefully count your change because you knew every quarter mattered when it came time to impress your friends by shaking your piggy bank and showing off how much money you saved from your birthday, Christmas, and actually finishing your chores. Once home, you’d relax by watching one of the three of the best animated movies: Toy Story, The Lion King, and Aladdin; you never missed a chance to pop one in the VCR and have a movie night while enjoying some go-gurt. Every kid knew Keenan & Kel was hilarious, you never missed an episode of All That, and that Full House was the epitome of a perfect 90s family. You knew Robin Williams was the coolest actor because he brought Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, and Jumanji to life. Space Jam was the only relevant example of sports, even though Mia Hamm and Michael Jordan were always raking in the Kids’ Choice Awards. You were always in amazement of how big the video store was whenever your parents would take you to pick out your weekly rentals, and if you were lucky, you’d get to pick a new release 2-day rental. You were also terrified of being lost thanks to Home Alone. You knew you were afraid of the dark because of Are You Afraid of The Dark? You had no clue what Titanic or Forrest Gump were about but you heard adults talk about them all the time. Just like you knew Monica Lewinsky’s name but had no idea why everybody talked about her as well. You had no concept of politics or activism, but remember when Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died. You dressed up as a Power Ranger every Halloween, and it was always the pink ranger or the red ranger because everyone knew the other ones were just not as cool. Trick-or-treating wasn’t scary, and the candy was actually full-sized. The music market wasn’t as saturated. You knew exactly who was team Britney Spears who was team Christina Aguilera. The girls (and even some of the boys) knew the words to “Barbie Girl.” You knew N*Sync, The Backstreet Boys, and the Spice Girls were at the top of the charts and knew all their songs without having to buy their cassette tape. How? The radio. The radio was your best friend. You listened to it all the time, waiting hours for your favorite station to play your favorite song and having your tape recorder ready to record it when it came on. School was more of a fun distraction rather than a chore. You loved the feeling of pride when you were able to buy your lunch rather than bringing your own, even though showing off your cool new lunch box was always an added bonus of bringing your own. It was always cool when you got to write on the white board, when you covered your hands in glue just to peel it off, and shopping in the student store. It was hard to learn cursive, but you were determined because everyone always told you that would be how everyone writes in the real world…and you wouldn’t find out until college that, just like with beanie babies’ value, they lied. You also remember there were nine planets, library visits were exciting, assemblies were anticipated, scented markers were amazing, Macarena dance battles at recess were totally normal, and your teachers actually acted like your friends. You’d come home but still feel totally awake and rested, no need (or time) for a nap. You’d physically go to your friends’ houses and knock on their front door to ask their mom if they could come out and play. You’d play tag and hide-and-seek until the streetlights came on and your mom called you back inside. You begged for ten more minutes, and then when she said no, you begged not to have to take a shower before bed because you’d gone swimming earlier in the day and that was basically the same thing. After that, you’d make sure all your homework was done, your backpack was all packed, and your clothes were picked out for the next day. You’d have a quick five minutes to hop on your rudimentary computer that didn’t do much – but it did let you check your AOL account, and if you were lucky you’d hear “You’ve Got Mail!” Bedtime was non-negotiable and if you stayed up until 10pm it was a truly wild night. You’d read a chapter or two of Goosebumps and when you felt your eyes get heavy you’d carefully set your alarm so you could wake up and do it all over again. Just in case you forgot what it was like as a 90s kid.

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