If you grew up in the '90s, then you know that the struggle was indeed real. Kids today simply don't understand how tough it was to be a child in the decade that launched a million Beanie Babies. To this day, you have vivid nightmares where you can't get your entire party to successfully ford the river without dying from dysentery on the Oregon Trail. You also vaguely resent your mother for throwing out your American Girl doll, which you're sure would've sold for millions. There are just some things your kid won't believe you dealt with in the '90s.
Now, when you hear a tween complaining about how their Wi-Fi isn't fast enough or that they can't download the latest movies straight to their smart phone in the comfort of their own home, you shake your fists with rage and mumble something about Blockbuster. Even if your own child is just a tot, one day they will stare at you in utter disbelief as you tell them how you were born in a year that started with "19."
So as you laugh to yourself while your kid is completely baffled by landlines, phone books, and that the "hashtag" is really a "pound sign," think back on all the things your child won't believe you dealt with in the '90s.
1. Relying On Dial-Up Modems
I bet that you cringed just thinking about the awful sound your dial-up modem would make as you crossed your fingers and desperately prayed to the AOL gods that your internet would successfully connect. Your children just don't know how good they have it.
2. Waiting At Video Stores
Not only did you anxiously scan the board to see when your favorite movie was going to finally be available to rent, but you had to hope that it was in stock at your local video store. Keep in mind that you had to have an adult with you if you wanted to rent anything rated R. And don't even get me started on putting a VHS in only to realize the last person didn't rewind it.
3. Using Pay Phones
Whether you grew up before cell phones and pagers were a commonplace thing or your parents just didn't want to buy you one, you had to rely on a handful of quarters and locating a sketchy (sometimes sticky) pay phone to call your parental unit to pick you up from the mall. What you would have given to have a smart phone.
4. Navigating Without A GPS
Even though you might have gotten spoiled by GPS too, your kids will never understand the very real fear of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with only your inner compass and an outdated paper map from your dad to guide you to civilization. It also wasn't unheard of for people to go by landmark-specific directions. You were out of luck if you weren't paying close attention and missed "that old red barn on the left."
5. Missing A TV Episode
You can still remember the moment when someone told you about the new-fangled concept of a DVR, thus blowing your mind. Back in the day, you had a paperback TV Guide to know when and what channel your favorite show was going to come on. If you were grounded, busy, or otherwise unable to watch it in real time, you had to set a timer on your VCR to record it. All hope was lost if that plan fell through, though.
6. Trusting You Got The Picture
Unless you had a Polaroid (which was more than just a lyric in an Outkast song, kids), you probably owned an average camera that was in no way high-tech. It was literally a point and shoot kind of deal. There was no screen on which to review the picture you just took. You basically had to hope that the pictures would turn out OK when you picked them up from the store (yes, that was a thing, too).
7. Doing Real Research
Not only did you get serious hand cramps from physically writing out your essays with pen and paper, but you didn't have Google or Wikipedia to help you do your homework either. School assignments meant getting a ride to the library, navigating the archaic black and green MS-DOS computer, and tracking a yellowed book down using the Dewey decimal system. Your child will never believe you when you tell them how long it took to write a research paper.
8. Memorizing Information
From phone numbers and addresses to important appointments and birthdays, you didn't have an app for that growing up. You legit had to memorize that information, man. If you lost the scrap of paper your crush wrote their number on, you were faced with the decision to either awkwardly ask for it again or just hope that your memory was reliable enough (...was it -4397 or -4379?).
9. Accidentally Ruining The Family Computer
This one may be specific to only a few people, but if you know what I'm talking about, then you remember how terrifying this was. You knew you weren't supposed to be illegally downloading N'SYNC's entire catalog on Napster, but gosh darn it, you needed to play "Here We Go" on repeat in your Discman. Long story short, it ended up not being actual N'SYNC songs and then a bunch of windows popped up that you couldn't click out of and that's the last thing you remember before unplugging the computer in a sweaty panic.