By now, I think we've all come to accept that there are some key differences in Millennials based on when they were born, right? It only makes sense — our generational banner covers two decades full of sweeping cultural shifts. So, yeah, there are some things older Millennials grew up with that younger Millennials didn't. I am painfully and somewhat comically aware of this, as I'm part of a large, tight-knit family which includes several younger Millennial cousins who often look at me like I'm an alien. A lovable alien, but still. We don't always speak the same language.
And, hey, that's A-OK. They may not understand some of the references I make and may not connect the dots when I quote a cult movie of the early '90s (when some younger Millennials were, oh you know, being born), but we've still got each other's backs when all is said and done. After all, we Millennials have to stick together — everyone else wants to paint us as lazy, entitled, pretentious whiners. So when we talk about the differences between older Millennials and younger ones, it's not to be divisive. It's simply to observe the things that make us unique. Younger Millennials obviously have their own set of experiences we older Millennials are clueless about. We're cool with that.
That's part of what's so great about the Millennial generation: we're all about celebrating the individual. So in ode to the distinctive journey we older Millennials have taken over time, let's explore some of the things we grew up with that younger Millennials didn't.
1. The Walkman
Not its hip little cousin, the Discman (and definitely not its high tech relatives, the Mini-Disc player or the iPod), but the old-school Sony Walkman — the kind that required cassette tapes, which were often mixes we created by SITTING NEXT TO A RADIO FOR HOURS ON END. These bad boys were introduced in 1979 and boomed in popularity in the '80s and early '90s.
2. The Original Run of Full House
You won't find older Millennials complaining about the Netflix reboot, Fuller House. We were lucky enough to grow up during the OG run of Full House from 1987 to 1995, thus our loyalty runs deep. Admittedly, we still miss Michelle Tanner.
3. Tan M&Ms
Whose idea was it to replace tan M&Ms with blue ones anyway? Oh yeah, the American public — it was put to a vote back in '95 and blue won out, forever changing our favorite chocolatey treat. And the world.
4. Pee-Wee Herman
Poor younger Millennials! You missed out on watching the quirky (and, OK, also kind of creepy) Pee-wee's Playhouse on TV from 1986 to 1990. Not to mention movies like Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, which, in full disclosure, I still watch whenever it comes on. Every. Single. Time.
5. This Gushers Commercial
I'm not even sure what this mid-'90s Gushers commercial was replaced by. I think I was traumatized by the image of children's heads ballooning into giant, amorphous fruit blobs. But clearly not that traumatized, because they were delicious.
6. The Late '80s/Early '90s Sitcom
I'm not saying there aren't younger millennials out there who didn't watch (and enjoy) reruns of classics like Seinfeld, Caroline in the City, Step By Step, Suddenly Susan, Mad About You, and Wings ... they just don't have quite the same appreciation (read: obsession) as we do.
7. George Bush Sr.'s Presidency
Younger Millennials undoubtedly remember ol' Wubya's two terms in office. But we older Millennials can actually recall the White House stint of Wubya's dad, George H.W. Bush, from 1989 to 1993.
8. Dial-Up Internet
Ah, that's the soundtrack of my misspent youth, right there. Were the days of dial-up prior to the emergence of broadband a pain in the butt? You betcha. But it still gives us older Millennials a major case of nostalgia.
9. Saved By the Bell
You guys, I'm not talking about The College Years or The New Class or whatever other wackadoodle incarnations they came up with after the fact. I'm talking about the first and most glorious years at Bayside High, during the show's original run from 1989 to 1992.
10. MC Hammer
True story: My very first concert was MC Hammer, Boyz II Men, and TLC. Go ahead; you can be jealous. I don't blame you. I was all in on the MC Hammer trend from the moment "Too Legit to Quit" became a hit in 1991. We Older Millennials were even known to rock Hammer pants from time to time.
11. The Kid from Jerry Maguire
Also known, of course, as Jonathan Lipnicki — aka the adorable little dimpled darling in everything from Stuart Little to The Jeff Foxworthy Show in the '90s. Now he's kinda hot, which we older Millennials are still struggling to come to terms with.
12. The Train Dance
You know the one I'm talking about! "Come on, ride that train, hey, ride it... come on ride the train, it's the choo choo train." You couldn't swing a stick in the mid-'90s without hitting a school dance filled with kids conga-lining around the room doing "the train." Thanks for the memories, Quad City DJ's.
13. Slap Bracelets
Some called them fashion, some called them dangerous — it was your classic case of po-tay-to, po-tot-o. Either way, schools started banning slap bracelets in the early '90s, so no fun for you, younger Millennials.
14. Crystal Pepsi
All hail the clear, ambrosial nectar of '90s kids everywhere! Although we older Millennials went into a period of mourning when it was dropped in the mid-'90s, now we can share the joy with younger Millennials — this heavenly elixir is slated to make a comeback on Aug. 8.