I was sixteen years old, and hadn't gotten my driver's license yet. We had a TV at my parents' house, but it had no cable because we lived out in the middle of the woods and the cable company wouldn't run infrastructure that far out. Our family computer was used for word processing only. The internet was a thing I explored out of boredom during thirty minute computer reservations in the school library. And it didn't do much to relieve the boredom, because in 1998, there wasn't anything that cool on the internet. Cell phones existed, but they had no cameras, no apps, no web surfing, no texting, even...and no one in my family had one.
When I wasn't in school, I spent most of my time writing (either in notebooks or on the un-networked computer in our dining room), reading books, and taking walks outside.
Perhaps this is cliche, but I sometimes miss the simplicity of the 90s, and not just out of nostalgia for an idyllic childhood in the woods. It was easier to daydream. Easier to follow the imagination where it led you. Without the digital distractions of the Age of Information, it felt so much easier to create weird stuff in my notebook or just in my mind.
None of this is to say that I don't appreciate the hell out of modern technology. I think it's wonderful to have all the knowledge of humankind available to me at the touch of a finger, to be able to store thousands of books on a device smaller than one physical book, and to have the opportunity to meet interesting people online who I never would have encountered IRL. And it's not as if I never write, or read books, or go for walks. It's just...different.
I think it's good to take a break once in a while. So this weekend, I'm returning to 1998 for at least 48 hours.
I'm disconnecting the internet and turning off my phone. I'm leaving my car parked at my mom's house so I won't give into the temptation to go to the store for some random thing I forgot I needed. I'm going to stay home in the woods, write in notebooks (or on my laptop, but without the ability to jump down a fathomless research rabbit-hole), meditate, daydream, eat snacks, read books, and take walks.
My husband and daughter are going away for the weekend, and I have no pressing errands or client work to do, so it's a perfect time for me to take a little retreat from the digital world. But if it goes as sweetly as I anticipate, I'll probably institute a monthly 1998 weekend for myself.