Time is a strange beast. One moment you think it’s still 1999/2004/2012, the next you realize you’re sitting in 2021. Confused, with no idea where the years went, there you are, busily counting how old you are on your fingers. Time doesn’t just fly by: it soars, does loop-de-loops, backtracks and fast-forwards, drips like a leaky faucet, rushes like a raging river, and delights in making you feel old and still young all at once.
Well, our team over here at Bored Panda wants time to be on our side, so we’re about to make you feel old and pine for the '90s and 2000s. Did we say ‘feel old?’ Sorry! We meant ‘feel nostalgic.’ Whoops. You’ll definitely get these memes and jokes if you remember the '90s and 2000s well, so scroll on down for a trip down memory lane, and remember to upvote the pics that you liked the most. We’d also love to hear from you what trends, technologies, and events you liked the most from that era. So be sure to leave us a comment below.
Bored Panda wanted to learn more about our nostalgia for earlier decades, so we reached out to Kemi Omijeh, a child and adolescent therapist who is based in London and is also a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Read on for her insights, dear Pandas!
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According to therapist Omijeh, our memories of the past can contribute to our sense of self and well-being. "The period of time we tend to be nostalgic over are significant moments that stood out. Perhaps it was a time when we felt happiest or safest, or perhaps it’s a period where things changed for us."
She explained that the age we were at during the era doesn't matter as much as what exactly the time period represents to us. "Our memories of the past can change over time depending on how often we revisit and also depending on what is going on for us in the present."
The Last Time
Omijeh joked that "of course, the '90s was better! But then again, I may be being very biased here." The therapist pointed out that who we were during each decade will influence our impressions of it.
"Generally speaking, the better decade is associated with youth and freedom. Nostalgia also often gives us rose-tinted glasses from which to reflect from. How we reflect on the past decades can play a part in how we engage with the current decade." If you're living in the UK and would like to speak to a therapist, you can find a counseling professional through the BACP right here.
Bored Panda previously spoke about nostalgia with therapist Omijeh in more depth. "Many psychologists, myself included, believe our childhood is the foundation to who we are as adults. It explains why we frequently revisit our childhood as it influences our present," Omijeh told Bored Panda.
According to Omijeh, the kind of childhoods that we had directly correlates to how we remember our childhood experiences. To put it simply: we’re nostalgic for the times that we felt loved and nurtured.
“If we’ve had a difficult childhood, it can be hard to feel nostalgic, instead it will feel like something we need to get over in order to move on," the therapist said.
"Nostalgia can also be a good coping strategy for times of low mood and challenges," she detailed. However, she warned that nostalgia is only useful to a certain extent. The moment it starts interfering with our ability to be present in our everyday lives is the moment that we should start to be worried.
“If we end up comparing it to our experiences today and feeling like nothing is as good as it was, then this will inevitably affect our mood and our ability to do what we need to do," Omijeh said. “We can become stuck in our nostalgia; in which case it might be best to seek help from a counseling professional to help you process your past in order to enjoy your present,” the therapist explained. In short, it’s fine if you feel nostalgic for the 90s and 2000s, but remember to enjoy 2021, too!
Earlier, Bored Panda also spoke about the changes in technologies and trends over the past few decades with Ramona Pringle, who is the Director of the Creative Innovation Studio and Associate Professor at the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University.
According to her, even if we know what trends occurred in the past, we can’t say for certain what the future will hold. “We don’t know what the future holds, and anyone who says that they do is selling snake oil. But, there are certain things we can count on: we love stories, and we love to be part of something biggest than ourselves. Be it oral storytelling, books, blogs, movies, or video games, we’ve never lost our love of narrative.”
Entertainment and connectivity, then, will continue being a vital part of our history as human beings as we move boldly (or trembling slightly from excitement and anxiety) into the future. “Equally true, even when we can’t go into a concert hall or colosseum, we look for ways to be together, connected, and part of a communal experience. The tech might change, but these will continue to be the drivers of our entertainment experiences,” Pringle said.
Before The Days Of Internet
Pringle explained to Bored Panda that over the next decade, entertainment tech will change and improve, focusing even more on immersion and interactivity.
“For the last decade, we’ve leaned into virtual reality because of how it enables both of these. We can step inside a world and have influence over it, and the story or experience that unfolds,” she said. “I think one of the things we can expect moving forward is, in a sense, the opposite of virtual reality. Instead, more of an enhanced reality or fictional reality, wherein the entertainment isn’t in a headset, but instead, all around us.”
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The changes to tech have been massive, but we’ve absorbed them so well (some of us, anyway) that we sometimes don’t even notice them anymore.
“A decade ago, we didn’t talk to robots. Today, many of us do,” Pringle detailed. “Siri and Alexa are some of the more common bots, but we already interface with non-human characters regularly. As technology advances, including augmented reality and mixed reality, I think we can expect that entertainment will be something we can engage with off of the screen, but out in the world, with characters and stories we can engage with throughout the day, or throughout our houses.”
The rise of e-sports is one clue that the ways that people engage one another change in unexpected and often surprising ways. “Whoever would have thought that people would pay money to watch other people play games? Media that engages us and gives us something to gather around, be it together, or virtually, is something that will always appeal to us.”
The Early 2000s
Pringle made some more predictions about the near future: “I think we can expect to see the ebb and flow of experiences that bring people together offline and then on screen, or online, as well. In the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of interactive and immersive venues like the museum of ice cream or the Dr. Seuss experience,”
She continued: “These are places we can go, with friends and family, and have a shared experience. It feeds back into our online experiences because we can share photos or memories and these environments are designed to foster that. Certainly, as we find ourselves in a time of social distancing, we’re seeing new creative ways of “being together” even when we’re apart. So I think we can expect to see entertainment that helps us connect, be it online or off, and immerses us in an experience, story, or community.”