I was born in 1999. Laugh all you want, but I’m still a 90s baby. And something all 90s babies have in common, albeit a more recent addition to the list, is… memes. The dictionary definition of ‘meme’ is: a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”

But any 90s baby knows that memes are so much more. Memes are catalysts for friendship, political cartoons, emotional releases, and comedic gold, among other things.

Memes are one of my favorite things in the world, and here’s why:

First and foremost, they bring joy to my life. As I’ve grown up, memes have developed from a cultish form of comedy into a universal medicine. Of course, I don’t visit my favorite meme account on Instagram whenever I’m feeling sad, (although that’s not the worst idea) but somehow memes seep into my everyday life and manage to make me happier than I was before.

Memes are a wholesome source of humor, and their art form is unmatched in its universality and originality. I have friendships that have literally been formed over our mutual love of memes.

You know how you can meet someone and realize you don't share the same sense of humor? This might not be speaking for everyone, but a lack of connection through laughter is almost always a deal breaker for me in a friendship. Like a fine wine, meme taste is developed over time.

The same way middle-aged moms connect over a good chardonnay, millennials connect over a sensible Arthur meme. So memes do a superb job of being the ultimate test of friendship. If I can connect with someone over a meme, I know a beautiful friendship is about to form, and it always does.

But more than their relatability, memes are the glue of a generation. There’s a meme for everything, and while that does include the bad things, it also includes the scary things, the uncomfortable things, and the happy things. Memes take the seriousness out of everyday life.

It seems like an unimportant social tool, but memes have actually done a great job of connecting millennials around the world. I constantly find myself laughing at a meme that satirizes something I didn’t even know could be satirized.

Memes are the purest form of free speech, allowing anyone and everyone to comment on anything they want, within moral reason, of course. Take our 45th President, for example. On November 9th, a cloud of darkness seemed to wash over my liberal bubble of NYC, but the clouds passed quickly after I logged onto social media and saw the plethora of memes making light of the situation.

The way we study political cartoons in history class today is the way students will study memes in fifty years. People connect with politics in different ways, and millennials primarily connect through memes. (But I also call my representatives, and I suggest you do the same.)

Think about it this way. When that Australian millionaire claimed that millennials were incapable of buying houses due to their undying love for avocado toast, what was the millennial response?

Guess.

They memed it! And just for the record, avocado toast is fine, but nothing beats a good meme. Maybe that’s why millennials aren’t buying houses?

So, the next time someone makes fun of you for liking memes, you know what to do.

Meme them right back, and be proud.