13 Struggles Of Being Mature For Your Age In The '90s

Growing up is always hard to do, but being mature for your age comes with it’s own distinct challenges. As a precocious kid in the ‘90s, you faced a number of quandaries; essentially, what do you do when everyone around you is obsessed with Step By Step, and you’re more into reruns of Thirtysomething? What do you do when you identify less with Stephanie Tanner, and more with Murphy Brown?

Of course, being “precocious” can mean a lot of different things to different people. For me, I think it meant that I liked a lot of grown-up movies and books, but I wasn’t particularly independent or emotionally mature (like, AT ALL). Other precocious kids, in contrast, show their early maturity in school or in their social relationships. And we’ve all met that amazing kid who just seems to have a handle on life that most adults would envy.

Television in the ‘90s was populated by a lot of precocious kids and teens, which made for good storylines, if not always verisimilitude. The Dawson’s Creek kids, for example, all talked like grad students, despite the fact that they were supposed to be in their freshman year of high school, and Topanga Lawrence, bless her, could probably have run a small nation on her own by the age of 12. Read on for 13 of the struggles you may have faced as a mature-for-your age ‘90s child:

1. Being obsessed with BBC dramas that you had to buy on tape.

I was obsessed with BBC period dramas growing up (I still am, actually), but in the ‘90s, it took a lot of work for American adolescents with small allowances to acquire Middlemarch or Pride and Prejudice on VHS. One of the most exciting aspects of early Netflix (back when it was all snail-mail DVDs) was finally being able to rent all of the obscure British television shows you had never gotten to watch.

2. While other kids are collecting Pogs, you were learning to do old-lady crafts like cross-stitching or knitting.

To be clear, I love old lady crafts. It’s just weird to be an old lady when you’re only 11 years old.

3. Your TV schedule revolved around Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery.

I’ve already established that being a BBC addict in mid-90s America was hard, and PBS was one of the few places you could get your fancy costume drama fix. If you missed an episode of a multipart PBS series, you were lost. LOST, I tell you! Who would be around to fill you in on what you missed from Wives and Daughters?

4. Classmates made fun of your too-grown up stuff.

When I was in the fourth grade, I had this messenger bag thing (I’m sorry “messenger bag thing” really is the closest term I have for it) from L.L. Bean instead of a backpack, and I loved it. But my classmates made fun of me for having what they termed “a briefcase.” They didn’t get that the bag’s briefcase-ness was exactly what was cool about it. (Also, kids are mean).

5. You had no time for the immaturity of the Real World house.

Ben Johnson on YouTube

You’d watch those seven strangers, picked to live in a house… and wonder, “How do you people count as grownups? Puck, clearly no living person should put his or her finger in the communal peanut butter. That is a basic tenet of human civilization.”

6. You were always hoping to find something around your house that you could take on Antique Roadshow. You never did.

TBH, I’m still always hoping to find some random household item lying around my apartment that will turn out to be a priceless artifact. But, as far as I can tell, the Antiques Roadshow appraisers aren’t all that interested in secondhand Ikea furniture.

7. You didn’t get the whole Jonathan Taylor Thomas obsession. Why would anyone go for him when there exists such a human as Jean Luc Picard?

No offense, JTT, but come on.

8. Pretending to be older online and realizing that it just opened you up to even more creepiness than usual.

The dawn of the Internet meant that you could go online and be 16 instead of your actual 12. But you (very quickly) found out that pretending to be older than your real age online just meant extra creepiness from the middle aged dudes hanging out in your favorite chat room.

9. Clarissa Darling was the only one who could possibly understand you.

It’s true. Clarissa was your TV soul mate, and everything about her quirky, precocious character spoke to you.

10. OK, Topanga Lawrence was your TV Soul mate, Part 2.

Seriously, how amazing would a slumber party with Clarissa and Topanga have been?

11. Believing that you were mature enough to handle The Silence of the Lambs when you were 11.

You were gravely mistaken. (And if you had to sleep in your parents’ room after that, I won’t tell anyone).

12. Realizing that you’re not as mature as you think, and falling hard for the Backstreet Boys.

Not that you would ever admit it.

13. Being confronted with an unimaginable choice: Your grandparents’ anniversary party or PEARL JAM.

Oh, wait. That’s just something that happened to Clarissa.

Images: Nickelodeon; Giphy (11); BBC