I'll admit, everyone thinks their generation was the best. It's very hard to distinguish nostalgia from fact. But, when looking back at our childhood years, we truly grew up in the golden age of being a kid. We were fortunate enough to grow up with technology without it taking over our whole lives. We grew up with the best TV shows, the best after-school snacks and the most fascinating pop culture.
Here are 9 reasons why those of us who got to grow up in the 2000s had it the best.
We had technology, but not too much.
I can remember an equal amount of time spent outside playing cops and robbers and getting as high as we possibly could on the swing set before jumping off, and online playing Rollercoaster Typhoon, Sims and StarDoll. We didn't have to run to the library to complete research papers, but we didn't worry about keeping up Snapchat streaks every day either. We texted our crush on our Motorola Razers and LG Chocolates the old fashioned way (pressing each number as many times as it took to finally write 120 characters). Technology was a fun outlet and not our entire lives.
Our TV shows rocked.Giphy
First of all, this was a golden age of cartoons. "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Fairly Odd Parents," "Rocket Power," "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" and "The Power Puff Girls" were all on our weekly lineups, and that doesn't even scratch the surface. This was Cartoon Network's and Nickelodeon's gold years for sure. Beyond cartoons, we had the best TV shows. Everyone watched "Drake & Josh," "Zooey 101" and "Hannah Montana" religiously. And this was the beginning of reality TV. "Jersey Shore," "Bad Girl's Club" and more most likely ruined our innocence, but we loved it anyway. There was never a shortage of TV to watch.
We had the best snacks.Giphy
Let's discuss the snack situation in the early 2000s because it was beautiful. There were 20 different variations of toaster oven pizza. Pizza rolls, pizza bagel bits, Celeste pizza for ones; we always had a way to get some pizza goodness. Our cereals were fun; the Trix still had colorful shapes, and if Kellogg's could add marshmallows to a cereal, they darn well would. Companies tried too hard to be creative. From colorful ketchup, to Lunchables, to mint Skittles, they were always coming up with something to appeal to the younger crowd. Dunkaroo's, Cheez-Its, Poptarts, Icy Pops, Cosmic Brownies, and more were constantly found in children's lunchboxes, and trading a snack pack of Pringles for some seasonal Oreos with your friend was exhilarating.
Our toys were the best.Giphy
Think of all the fun games and toys we had to play while growing up. We got to play with Ferbys, Polly Pockets, Nintendo's, Wii's, Bratz, Webkinz, Razor scooters and the list goes on. There were games to play outside, to play inside, to play on the computer and to play pretend. I remember many nights spent playing Rock Band in my brother's room or having Polly Pocket fashion shows with my friends after school. We chatted throughout our Nintendo DS even though we were in the same room and snuck our Tamogotchis into our cubbies so they wouldn't die while we were at school.
The fashion was wild.Giphy
So, early 2000s fashion wasn't the best, but it was definitely the most fun. The rule to make-up was the shinier and the more glitter, the better. Shiny lip gloss was always the move, and bright, colorful eyeshadow was the look to have. Whatever actual fashion sense we lacked, we made up for in comfort and whimsy. Uggs? Crocs? Track suits? Fashion ponchos? Gauchos? We were rocking fashion practically. If you didn't own at least one graphic tee with Abercrombie printed across the sleeve, did you even grow up in the 2000s? We can't forget about the dark eyeliner trend as well. The more you layered on that sucker, the better. Even rock singers, such as Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and The Killers' Brandon Flowers, jumped on the dark eyeliner (guyliner) trend.
The music was iconic.Giphy
While we're discussing band members, let's discuss the music in the 2000s. Did Kidz Bop shape my music taste I have today? I cannot confirm or deny, but I vividly remember listening to Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"? and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" over and over again every night while I danced around. Mr. Brightside wasn't just a throwback and Kelly Clarkson just hit the scene. Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Panic! At The Disco were still punk rock, and Maroon 5 and Coldplay were still alternative rock. Sugar Ray, The Fray and Yellowcard made you excited to grow up and be an angsty teenager, and the All-American Rejects exploded over the radio and were even guest starring in various TV shows and movies.
The movies were also iconic.Giphy
We started the 2000s with a bang then Dreamworks released Shrek and basically changed every child's (and their parent's) life. Honestly, who can't listen to "All Star" without immediately thinking of "Shrek"? Pixar was also just getting started with blockbuster after blockbuster. Plus, rom-coms were in their prime. "27 Dresses," "The House Bunny," "Mean Girls," "John Tucker Must Die," and "Music & Lyrics" were watched regularly at sleepovers. We also grew up with multiple movie franchises, such as Harry Potter, which was a pop culture phenomenon. Other franchises such as Twilight also took the world by storm. Who didn't have an argument with their friends whether they were Team Edward or Team Jacob? Or spent hours debating what Hogwarts house they belonged in?
Digital cameras and video were accessibly.Giphy
Although this makes for some embarrassing pictures and videos, they were certainly fun to use back in the day. Who didn't take their digital camera to the middle school dances? And took a terrible selfie with their arm stretched out as far as they could? Running around snapping as many pictures you possibly could was half the fun of going to a dance. And don't even get me started on the photo shoot we would set up with our friends. Throw on some Claire's makeup and a solid colored bed sheet on the way and you were set. We could all be America's Next Top Model.
And who didn't make a music video with their friends? Stay up all night creating a dance and trying to film it to perfection? For me, my friends and I spent a whole summer making dances to Michael Jackson songs ("Thriller" was our main act), and recording it on my Flip camera.
We could still preserve our innocence.Giphy
Although we grew up during some trying times with 9/11 being one of our earliest memories, we still were able to remain innocent growing up. Technology and media over-exposure didn't shatter the illusion of our innocence like it seems to in today's society. We felt no pressure to be stylish at 9 years old; we wore Heely's and light up sneakers, not Adidas and Nike.
Our parents took our picture to remember the moment, not to post to their lifestyle blog later. We didn't feel the need to be perfect at every second since not everything could be put online and blasted to thousands of people with a click of a button. Our parents raised us in a normal setting; they didn't try to force vegan lifestyles or holistic medicine onto us because they saw an article about it on Facebook. And not every little action was scrutinized by millions of strangers online. We were allowed to live in our own little, care-free bubble. Our lives were the last generation to be untouched by media and technology, and we are fortunate for that.