Today, I had one of those aging moments. I was driving in my car and listening to millennial satellite radio when Prince’s song, “Party Like it’s 1999” started playing. Instantly, I was transported through time to a chaperoned New Year’s Eve party in 8th grade. A living room bash where we were definitely partying like it was 1999. It was a rager of a party that included candy and chip bowls, soda on tap and a landline for which to RSVP.
While I really never even liked that song-I’m more of a “boy band” kind of girl. I felt so nostalgic that I spent nap time binging on old episodes of Full House. The clothes, the books, the lingo, the jokes-where did it all go? It’s like the millennium came along and took my childhood away with it. I found myself not longing for the candy and chip bowls but for the simplicity of 1999.
Weren’t things just simpler then?
My kids will never know the torture of waiting for dial-up Internet. They will never experience the humility of asking a stranger for a quarter to use a pay phone at the movies. They will not form a relationship with their friend’s parents because they had to call a landline at a decent hour. They will not be bored out of their tiny little minds on car rides. They will not ask me about my day while having dinner. They will not succumb to the highest level of tired that happens after playing outside from breakfast to dinnertime.
The very thought of this makes me tired. 1999 was a much younger me. A glasses wearing, braces smiling, green hair in the summer younger me. I don’t want to go back to 1999. I don’t want to party like it’s 1999.
But, I do want to raise my children like it’s 1999.
I want them to know the true agony of no Wi-Fi. I want them to borrow a cheap cell to take to the movies because they will not have their own. I want them to call their friends at home so they can talk to an adult first. I want them to be bored on a road trip because there are no screens allowed. I want them to know the true art of conversation at the dinner table. I want them to be tired, dirty and stinky from playing outside all day.
But how do I make this happen? This 2016 life is all around me.
Then it hit me.
The best way for me to raise my kids like it’s 1999-is for ME to live my life like it’s 1999.
I will go to the grocery store and not link up to free Wi-Fi. I will not give my kids cell phones until they are of driving age. We will reinstate a landline at our house. We will take family vacations with no screens. I will ask my children about their day and their interests. I will answer their questions in return. I will send my children outside. I will play with my children.
I will enjoy this time because it does move so fast. I was “partying” like it was 1999 only yesterday it seems. I need to honor those times and teach my children the importance of the 90’s. And the Macarena.
Well, maybe some things are better left in the past.