25 Things I Miss About Growing Up in the 90s

July 4, 2018

I tell you what, this World Cup malarky is making me miss growing up in the 90s. It’s giving me ALL of the nostalgic feels at the moment.

Every time the World Cup comes around, I can’t help but think about what I was doing the four years prior and how much my life has changed since then.

For instance, four years ago I had quit my long-term office job and was getting ready to backpack around the world with my ex for the first time.

And now?

I’m a full-time freelance writer and blogger in a long distance relationship with my AMERICAN boyfriend.


It’s so weird that I’m 27 and classed as a super mega adult now, although sometimes I can’t even remember that I’ve got a dentist appointment until I’VE GOT A TEXT(!) to tell me the day before.

(That was a Love Island reference for fellow fans.)

It’s true that life goes by so fast.

Thanks to the World Cup, I’ve been thinking about the past a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how much more simple life was as a child. I’ve been thinking about the things I used to do back in the 1990s compared to the things I do now. 

(I.e. Play outside FOR HOURS ON END with the neighbours’ kids versus sat indoors every night watching Netflix or mindlessly flicking through social media.)

I’ve also been thinking about how amazing it would be to live back then as the FULLY FLEDGED adult I am now.

(Anyone else?)

If you feel like going down memory lane with me, read on for 25 more specific things that I miss about growing up in the 90s.

Growing Up in the 90s

1. Going on frequent trips to the library and having your card stamped as you swapped your books.

Yes, I was a library geek ALRIGHT. I spent the odd evening there every now and then (okay, I went a couple of times per week) and it was JOYOUS how much spare time I had for reading books.

Nowadays? I’m lucky if I can finish a book in a month. #TrueStory

2. Writing handwritten notes and passing them to your crush in class.

You know this was THE BEST THING EVER when you fancied someone at school and then THEY GOT THEIR MATE TO PASS YOU A NOTE FROM THEM in class and the back and forth LASTED ALL MORNING.

It was the equivalent of texting someone you fancy back then and it was oh so glorious.

3. Renting films from Blockbuster and video shops.

…And that was your Friday night sorted. Ah, the Netflix of the past.

(Be kind. Rewind.)

4. Having to own your personal dictionary and encyclopedia set because that was the only way you could complete your research projects at school.

Hardly anybody had a computer back when we were kids and, if they did, it was one chunky looking thing per household that had a weird yellowy hue. Ew.

5. Owning a glowing lava lamp but then only ever switching it on when your mates came over to show them how you cool were.


6. Having to get off the phone to use the computer.

Or, when you’re using the computer happily submerged in your fourth hour of Habbo Hotel, you’d hear your sibling screech “KATIE, GET OFF THE COMPUTER! I NEED TO CALL MY FRIEND!”

I mean, it was like, I’m in the middle of building my own hotel here – CAN YOU NOT JUST WAIT?!

7. Having to use AN ACTUAL PHYSICAL MAP to get places.

There was no Google Maps, GPS or sat navs, we were just COMPLETELY left to our own devices when it came to trying to venture to new places.

But you know what?

That was half the fun of it.

Vintage Camera

8. Keeping your Saturday mornings free because YOU JUST COULDN’T miss SMTV Live.

I mean, Ant, Dec and Cat were great at kick-starting the weekend and we also got to watch a ton of our favourite shows.

(Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Pokemon, anyone?)

9. Reading the back of shampoo bottles whilst you were on the loo because smartphones hadn’t been invented yet.

Don’t even TRY and pretend that you didn’t do it.

10. Rocking biceps of steel from having to wind the car windows up and down constantly during summer.

SMH. Kids these days don’t know how easy they’ve got it with electric windows.

11. Trying to fit your portable CD-player or Walkman in your pocket whilst you’re listening to it on the go.

LOL, let’s face it, it would NEVER fit in your pocket. Those things were so big and clunky.

12. Making up dance routines in the school playground to all the cheesy pop hits.

S Club 7, Spice Girls, Steps – you name it, we all did it!

13. Staring at your computer screen in ICT class for AN AGE trying to pick out which style of WordArt you want to use for your school project.

It was always SUCH a tough decision. RIP WordArt.

14. Playing Spider Solitaire on your computer to kill time whilst your Mum was on the phone so you could actually resume browsing the internet.

It was the lead game of the “I grew up with no internet” starter pack.

15. Taking photos on your disposable camera at your mate’s birthday party and having to wait a week to find out that they were completely useless.

Instant photos of today are one of God’s wondrous miracles.

Old Photographs

16. Spending hours looking after your virtual pets on your Tamagotchi.

But then getting distracted by life and logging back on days later to discover that many innocent lives had been lost 🙁

17. Getting excited by the book fair handouts and deciding which book you were going to buy next.

Generation Y kids will never know the pure joy that we felt in that moment.

18. Planning a sleepover with your best pals at school and being buzzing about it ALL WEEK LONG.

Then, when THE ACTUAL DAY came around, you’d go to the shop and buy lots of sweets so you’d have stuff to snack on as you prank-called kids you knew on your Motorola flip phone.

19. Seeing your peers all day every weekday at school and then spending ALL YOUR EVENING chatting to each other on MSN.

Oh, MSN. You absolute legend.

Also, if you didn’t have song lyrics in your name that were considered “controversial”, you just weren’t cool enough. Soz.

20. Hearing that DELIGHTFUL Broadband dial-up tone every time that you tried to fire up the internet.

You know the one.

You’re playing the sound in your head right now as you read this.

Broadband, you hun <3

21. Losing your SHIT when you heard the ice cream man pulling into your street and madly scrambling back to your house to find a parent who would give you the money to buy one.

Knickerbocker Glories and Zaps were BAE.

22. Coming up with your own fun outdoor games with your sibling that involved extravagant scenarios like you being a princess trapped in a castle surrounded by a dragon.

(Yes, I watched a lot of Disney back then and had a wild imagination… In fact, I still do.)

23. Playing Mickey and Minnie Mouse, The Lion King and Toy Story on SEGA Mega Drive for hours on end.

…And using cheat codes that your school mates gave you to skip ahead to certain levels.

24. Investing in one of those dance mats that plugged into your TV but then only using it once in a blue moon.

I mean, why did they have to be so CHALLENGING – right?

25. Going to school discos and spending most of the time with the boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other, and only merging right at the very end when everyone felt more comfortable.

These were also the times where you could show off your best moves to songs like the Macarena, Saturday Night dance and Superman!


Retro Bookcase

Growing Up in the 90s

I’m sure that there are plenty more nostalgic moments that I’ve forgotten (my memory doesn’t work like it used to) but I think I’ve covered the main ones.

Even though we’re SO LUCKY and privileged to have everything we do now, and it’s amazing to see how much technology has come on in such a short space of time, sometimes I can’t help but long for the simplicity of the past.

Life was so much more straightforward back then, right?

However, it’s SO NICE to be able to have all these INCREDIBLE memories. And it’s also rather exciting to think about what the future could bring.

After all, so much has happened so far in the past.BRING IT ON.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with me! What else do you miss about growing up the 90s? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

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