10 Things You’ve Forgotten About the 1990s

10 Things You’ve Forgotten About the 1990s

Over 25 years have passed since the 1990s came and went, but, with a haze of well-timed nostalgia, what was it about that decade that made it so special? Join me, as we go back to a time of cloned sheep, Rollerblades and the fear of the millennium bug. So what were the 1990s for you? For me, there were…

1. Some of the best films, ever!

The phrase, “I’m having an old friend for dinner…” would never be the same after 1991 when Hannibal Lecter gave it a much darker meaning at the end of The Silence of the Lambs. Of course this was the decade of , still regarded by many as one of Disney’s greatest moments and Tom Hanks gormless Forrest Gump – “Run, Forrest! Run!” And if you didn’t well up when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson sunk beneath the sea to join the fated Titanic in 1997 you were either not there, or made of stone. And, let’s not forget Pulp Fiction (just what was in the briefcase?) or 1999’s Fight Club, but I am not allowed to talk about that…

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

    John Travolta from Pulp Fiction

    2. Also, some of the best TV, ever!

    It was not just the big screen that was wowing us in the ’90s. How about spooky Fox Mulder in The X Files, which hit our screens in 1993? We wanted to believe and knew that the truth was out there. Or how about Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer? A young Will Smith became a trendsetter as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and animated fans were able to welcome Peter Griffin, Brian the dog and evil baby Stewie (of course with an English accent) in Family Guy. South Park was just generally rude – ‘Oh my God, they killed Kenny!’

    X Files

      X-Files Promotion

      Of course, there was only one show that got everyone talking when The Rembrandts ‘I’ll Be There for You’ heralded Friends. The story of  Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross and Monica had us glued to our sofas for almost 10 years.

      However, sometimes the adverts were better than the shows. Back in the 1990s there were some crazy commercials; bright colours, mad graphics and far too many jump cuts, like this classic example.


      Swipe Mate

        Shutterstock: 90s Nostalgia Adverts

        Just for a bit of semi-nostagic fun, have a look at modern products given a 90s commercial make-over – it’s just like you’re back there on the sofa!

        3. It was when we first ‘went online’

        Retro Computer

          Retro Computer

          In an age when you sound massively old if you say ‘you remember the time before the Internet’ it was 1991 when many of us got our first view of the World Wide Web with America Online (AOL).

          A dial-up service (ask your parents about the pain of waiting for an image to load line by line!) was the Internet provider for over 10 million people during the ’90s.

          4. We played the most amazing games

          Today mobile gaming is something we take for granted, but back then mobile gaming was limited to a pack of cards (Top Trumps if you were very lucky!). The Nintendo Game Boy changed that with its interchangeable game cartridges with classics like Tetris and Super Mario Land. Although it was released in 1989, it truly led a revolution in gaming through the ’90s.

          Nintendo Game Boy

            Nintendo Game Boy

            More traditional games of the era included ‘Elefun’ a battery powered elephant that blew ‘butterflies’ in the air for you to catch in nets. More likely, it blew paper butterflies all over your room, most of which would never be seen again. Hours of fun for all the family!


            An eclectic trend of the ’90s were Pogs, which consisted of milk caps that you could lose at the hand of a skilled player wielding a metal ‘slammer’. You had to build a stack of caps which players would take turns to throw their slammer on the stack, if you were playing ‘for keeps’ you would retain any that landed face up. This usually promoted tantrums from players who were losing their cherished caps and calls from schools stating that this was a form of gambling and should be outlawed at all costs.

            5. It was all about the music

            If you find yourself singing ‘One time’ out loud whenever you hear ‘Killing Me Softly’ by The Fugees on the radio, you are truly a child of the ’90s. Or how about ‘Flat Eric’ rocking it out to ‘Flat Beat’ by Mr Oizo trying to sell you jeans.



              Of course, one of the pivotal hits of the ’90s was Madonna with ‘Vogue.’ Yeah, we all ‘Vogued’ in the school yard. If you were one of the cool kids you may have been more into the Seattle grunge scene with Nirvana and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

              6. But, what we ‘really, really want(ed)’…

              The Spice Girls

                Spice Girls

                Forget boy bands, the 90’s was the time of ‘Girl Power’ in the form of The Spice Girls who hit the scene with their Billboard hit ‘Wannabe’, I am sure we all still want to ‘zig a zig ahh…’ whatever that really meant.

                It was a time of manufactured empowerment, but we didn’t mind as the discussions of the plus points of Sporty, Ginger, Baby or Scary and Posh Spice kept us amused around water coolers. Of course, the less said about Spice Girls The Movie the better, you either loved it or agreed with the critics. At least it won a Golden Raspberry for ‘Worst Actress’ – praise indeed!

                7. It was all about the gadgets

                If the ’80s were about mobile music with the ubiquitous Sony Walkman, then the 90’s were all about bringing it up to date. No more cassettes. With the Discman, you could use your shiny new CDs. Of course, the downside of them skipping constantly (despite the promised shock protection) meant we had to take care when we jogged.


                One of the must-have bits of tech was a Tamagotchi, a pocket sized digital pet that required your near-constant attention feeding, disciplining and cleaning up after your digital friend. Of course if you neglected it, you would find it would die. However, unlike the family hamster, you could bring it back by pressing the A and C buttons. If only real life were that simple!



                  8. Of course, the best dressed people were all wearing…

                  Ripped Jeans

                    Ripped Jeans

                    Don your ripped jeans, a G-Shock watch and a Hypercolor T-shirt and you were ready to go out on the town. Of course your parents may well bemoan the state of your torn and worn denim (You paid good money for those?) or in my case sew them up, ‘good as new’ without you knowing! (Thanks, but no thanks mum!)

                    The Hypercolor T-shirt changed colour as it warmed up. Cue inappropriate hand prints and unfortunate patches under your arms!

                    9. ‘You Gotta Catch Them All’, the first time round

                    Pokémon was created, initially as a game before becoming a TV show a series of movies and trading cards. Most of us took on the role of Pokémon trainers trying to capture every possible character and battling our friends. It would be over 20 years before Pokémon Go was even imagined, but we were already hooked!


                      Pokemon Trading Cards


                      10. If you were important you had a pager

                      Well, it was likely you were a god! Whereas cell phones were available in the ’80s, a $4,000+ price tag put them out of reach of most of us. By contrast, in 1994, there were over 61 million pagers in use.

                      A pager sent short text and numeric messages. You had to ring an operator who would send the message to the pager. So, we became adept at creating codes we could use. A typical coded message between me and my girlfriend of the day may have gone like this:

                      07734 143 607 477 406 911
                      Hello I love you I miss you Best friends forever Hugs and Kisses Call me now!

                      Sadly the response I got was:

                      1134 2 09 – Go to hell… (You had to turn your pager upside down to get that one).

                      Pager Code

                        It was a relief when the first affordable cell phones appeared in the late ’90s. Who can forget the almost bulletproof Nokia 6110 or the Star Trek-like Motorola StarTAC.

                        Nokia Cell Phone

                          Nokia Phone

                          While we are reminiscing about cell phones, let’s have a moment to remember Nokia, the everlasting phones with the massively addictive ‘Snake’ game. Happy days!

                          It’s all nostalgia

                          More than 25 years may have passed, but we can still hanker after the nostalgia, feeling old-fashioned about a ‘better age’ that feels like it was only yesterday. Damn, now we are starting to sound like our parents! Please, let me go back.

                          Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via

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                          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                          1. Work on the small tasks.

                          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                          2. Take a break from your work desk.

                          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.


                          3. Upgrade yourself

                          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                          4. Talk to a friend.

                          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.


                          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                          7. Read a book (or blog).

                          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                          8. Have a quick nap.

                          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.


                          9. Remember why you are doing this.

                          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                          10. Find some competition.

                          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                          11. Go exercise.

                          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.


                          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                          12. Take a good break.

                          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via

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