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A Real 90s Kid?

Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One glance at any social media website and you can tell a few things about us college-age students – we love lists, we’re incredibly nostalgic and we are absolutely obsessed with the 90s.
Every other post on Buzzfeed is a list that inventories the toys we played with, the school supplies we couldn’t live without, our horrible, horrible taste in fashion and the music we loved way back in the 1990s. But while I laugh and nod along to these articles while mourning the loss of my Tamagachi and Lisa Frank pencil case, I also can’t help but wonder why we love these lists so much.
The Internet has certainly helped, providing a forum in which we can collectively ruminate in our precious 90s memories, complete with accompanying GIFs of snap bracelets, YouTube videos of “Saved By The Bell” and mp3s of our favorite Britney Spears songs.
It’s not just the Internet making our childhood nostalgia easy, however – there’s something else. My theory is that we aren’t really 90s kids. I mean, in 1999, I was 6 years old, and I entered the new millennium with pretty much only fleeting memories of my Skip-It and an undying love for “Spongebob.” I wasn’t a fan of “Clarissa Explains It All” or “Daria,” because I wasn’t old enough. Still, so many of these “You Know You’re a 90s Kid” posts include these references, and I eat them up (especially “Daria,” because I found out later that “Daria” was awesome).
So what is it that keeps us returning to 90s reflections even if we were just toddlers that decade? Probably a few things that can be crudely summed up with this: the late 90s felt awesome to us. We were young and carefree. The economy was pretty cool. We didn’t understand the news, and even if we did, the biggest political scandal of the time had little to nothing to do with politics. People rocked overalls. Overalls!
So even if they aren’t our distinct memories, the love of the decade, the longing for our childhood and the world wide web on which we were raised has made 90s nostalgia a fun and ever-so-distracting hobby for us college kids. Never mind that we hardly had a grasp of the language back in ’97 – we’re going to post those Buzzfeed articles on Facebook all we want.
Now that that’s established, I hope we agree that there’s nothing wrong with looking back on the 90s fondly. Still, just because we were fans of certain musicians when we were four-year-olds doesn’t mean we have to half-ironically, half-nostalgically listen to them all the time.
The decade also had some pretty awesome music that we never appreciated as tiny, tiny humans because we were too busy with Furbees and the Spice Girls (which, incidentally, was my very first concert).
Now, we have the power not only to curate elaborate stills from 90s cartoons, but also to listen to music back then we never gave a chance. Here are some favorites from 90s that toddlers probably didn’t love back then.
Contact Allie Tollaksen at atollaks@nd.edi
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.