(Photo courtesy of John Fischer on Flickr under CC license)
(Photo courtesy of John Fischer on Flickr under CC license)

By SARAH LEWIS, Editor-in-Chief

I was listening to my 90’s Pandora Radio Station while I was doing homework this past weekend, and all of my adolescent emotions and memories couldn’t help but flood back.

I was 500 percent sure that I was going to marry Justin Timberlake in the nineties. He was the front man in *NSYNC, and he was gorgeous. Seriously, how could I resist his ramen noodle hair? If you haven’t seen him starring in the movie Model Behavior then shame on you.

After listening to music from Britney Spears and A*Teens I couldn’t help but reminisce, so for this week’s column I decided to bring back one of my favorite past times from the 1990’s and early 2000’s: AIM. I am not ashamed to say that AOL Instant Messenger was basically my life back in the day.

When I was ten, my biggest concern was who my crush was, so I could write his name in my Buddy Info with asterisks. I’ll be honest, my Buddy Info was an art form with its inspirational quotes and angsty lyrics that even I didn’t understand at the time.

I know that technology and the internet have come quite a long way since AIM’s heyday, but I miss the anticipation of taking 25 minutes to sign into my Dial Up internet to sit on AIM for ten minutes. Nowadays, young’uns know how to use cell phones and iPads before they learn how to tie their shoes, and I can’t help but think, “Is this real life?”

I remember how much of an ordeal it was to convince my parents to let me get AIM in middle school. I had to BEG them, and I was overjoyed dancing around my room playing my Backstreet Boys Hit Clips when they finally caved and said yes. I still remember my first AIM Screen Name…MistakenLove24. Yep, that’s right. I probably didn’t realize what “love” was until at least eight years after I made that Screen Name, but it is what it is.

Now, all the middle school kids update their Twitters and Facebooks more than I do, and I just want to know what happened to the little delights in life. By the time adolescents of today hit 13, they already have phones, iPods, Facebooks, and fully functioning blogs. I’m pretty sure that a lot of twelve year olds have better blogs than me which is saying something considering my blog’s upkeep is on the top of my to-do list. Are middle schoolers cooler than me? Probably…

When I was younger, I recall internet being a privilege, and that I spent most of my time outside. I’m sure I sound like a scolding grandmother right now. I miss throwing up an AIM away message with cryptic lyrics and a meticulously chosen font and color combination, and waiting at the computer for my middle school crush to send me a, “Hey.” I had about 200 people on my Buddy List, and I probably only talked to 7 of them including AOL’s automated computer Screen Name, SmarterChild.

I just think that many people are rushing into experiences, but I’m sure my elders thought the same thing when I was growing up. Why do eight year olds need iPhones? STOP IT LITTLE CHILDREN. Youth is wasted on the wrong people, right? Just take the time to appreciate the world around you because look how fast AIM, A*Teens, and Wheelie shoes vanished from our lives.

For the time being, I’ll be grateful for the little things from my childhood like my emotional AIM Screen Name and my carefully chosen Buddy Icon. I think I’m going to bring back AOL Instant Messenger because life at Boyd W. Arthurs Middle School was a much, much simpler time.