And while I love so many things about life, and about my life, at the start of the 21st century, there are some things I’d love to see bought back from the 90s. And I don’t mean bought back as if they were some kind of fashion fad. I’m referring to something deeper.
Because for all the changes and advances that technology has given us, there are also some things that we’ve lost.
The 90s were a time before the internet became the massive force it is in our daily lives today. Social media didn’t exist, heck mobile phones were the size of suitcases and a luxury only a few could afford. This technological simplicity meant that life was a lot simpler too.
I’m not saying that life was perfect. Not by any means. My nostalgia isn’t fuelled by a whimsical desire to go back to some earlier time when everything was perfect. In fact, it’s the imperfect things about the 90s that ironically, I miss the most.
Reality bites. Not just the title of one of the most seminal movies of the early 90s, the ethos that we as human beings were sad, confused by the world around us and fucked up was accepted, even embraced somewhat. Sure, we analysed, over-analysed and obsessed over our emotional experiences ad nauseum, but our ability to be in touch with all aspects of our lives – both positive and negative – reached a nadir in the 90s.
The self awareness movement was just coming into mainstream consciousness. Oprah, Rikki and even Phil and Sally Jesse were bringing pop psychology into our lounge rooms. Concepts such as “catharsis” and “closure” gave us not only a new language, but also a new prism with which to consider our feelings, view ourselves and the people around us.
Seeing people confess their deepest, darkest and strangest secrets on national television affected us on more than purely a voyeuristic level. It actually gave us permission to be more open about the deep, dark and strange things going on in our lives and in our minds.
We seem to have lost that ability or desire to be able to connect to the darker side of things that we experience in our lives. We seem to live in a society obsessed with only portraying perfection. Take a look at your social media feed and see how many posts are about:
Here I am on a yacht.
Here I am having an amazing lunch with this amazing person.
Here I am wearing my brand new brand name outfit.
Here I am having the bestest day ever.
All these things are great, but what about the flip side? Do people not ever get sad, confused or feel fucked up anymore? And why can we not share that side of our lives now? In the 90s, it felt like we could. And it felt that it was OK to do just that.
Ironically, now when people do share something ‘real’, it feels either like they’re oversharing (TMI much) or that there’s an ulterior motive behind it. Undoubtedly a lot of this is fuelled by the social media /reality TV days we’re in, which is a shame.
Before social media and reality TV, life felt fuller. It was OK to admit we have no idea, no money and no plan for life really. In some weird, strange way – I really miss those days.
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
Radiohead – Creep