Only '90s Kids


Disclaimer: I am not nineties kid (as if!) But I am pretty fly. Anyways... I just liked the title, thinking the whole "only 90s kids will remember this" thing was fitting to the actual topic at hand, which is nostalgia.

"If there's a good part then

I hope it's not far cause

I thought it'd be today;

it's so hard

so can we skip to the good part?"

AJR, "The Good Part"

I was riding my bike today and caught a whiff of grilled meat. Yes, someone was grilling. Apparently Missourians will do anything if it's fifty-six degrees outside (including me. I wore shorts to church today).

The scent of the food combined with the sunny sky, the cool breeze on my skin and spinning bike wheels all combined to create that whimsical and strange feeling of nostalgia.

Nostalgia conjures sweet images of childhood dollhouses and sunsets; but it is my opinion that nostalgia is a much darker emotion.

Today I was instantly transported back to a million childhood barbeques. A thousand chilly spring days with no responsibility, no plans but to while the day away indulging my imagination under the sunlight.

I got to thinking about how much I miss it. How I didn't realize how good things were until they were gone.

When did things change? When I turned 12? 13? 14? All I know is now everything is different. I gave myself an hour in my packed schedule to take a bike ride, but I really, I shouldn't have. It was just such a nice day.

See, when I was a kid, I had nothing to do. And I turned that boredom into freedom, and that freedom into the most wild and beautiful flights of fancy I've ever boarded. (Get it?) Now, there's never nothing. I've got months-old homework assignments rotting in my to-do list. I've got blogs to write, Twitter to check, the gym to hit, showers to take, a social life to scavenge from the scraps, and a restless spirit that never seems satisfied, no matter how much work I do. Which isn't much at all; I spend more time worrying about everything I have to get done than actually doing it.

So when did lazy childhood days spent in sprinklers and trampolines morph to "you can have one hour to ride a bike, and you'll think about that project due in two weeks the whole time"?

And does it ever get better?

Cuz' here's the plain truth: I think I peaked in infancy. Hm, maybe kindergarten if I'm feeling generous.

I've been told these are the best years of my life. That high school is unforgettable.

Here, they say, you make the best friends you'll ever have. You date for the first time (as IF!)*

*Still 90s-ing it up. (:

In high school, you join sports (ha). You go to parties (haha). You get in're reckless, you're adventurous, you're FREE!

But all I feel is trapped.

So if these are gonna be "the good old days" someday, then quite frankly, I'm terrified.

But I'm not sure.

I've heard people say every single one of these things:

"High school is amazing! Enjoy the experience! Enjoy being free, no bills to pay!" (Winkwinknudgenudgekidsamirite).

"Oh, you couldn't PAY me to be fifteen again."

"College, guys. College is the best. You're gonna love it."

"Wait, no. College is harder than high school. It sucks. You'll have a mental breakdown, I guarantee it."

"Having kids is the best thing that ever happened to me."

"Ugh, kids. They cost a million bucks a pop. I love 'em and all, but man, they're stressful."

"I love being old, and I wear my grey hair like a badge of pride."

"Just you wait, kid, someday you'll wake up and lose your keys and feel your back snap crackle pop like rice crispies."

So when DO we stop looking back? When can we finally look forward, with real hope instead of dread?

When will nostalgia stop holding us bondage?

Because here's the truth, at least, the way I see it: no time is better than any other. Each has their own unique struggles and joys. And when we glorify the past, we forget to experience the present that we're in.

Life is still good.

Even if I really should be citing sources right now.