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Insight: Nostalgia and the aging 2000s kid

Blockbuster has returned to the internet, kickstarting the twenty-year nostalgia cycle for the early 2000s

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With Blockbuster making a return online, Gen Z students are feeling a wave of nostalgia for the early 2000s.

Do y’all remember Blockbuster? I do. Renting half a dozen movies on a Friday that would last all weekend. Buying popcorn and other movie-watching snacks to enhance the experience. It was like taking the movie theater home with you. And it was fun.

All of that crashed to a quick end when streaming-behemoth Netflix took over the rental business, making their movies available by mail.

This left those fun little blue and yellow Blockbuster stores empty and obsolete. Stupid Netflix.

These long-ago memories of weekend Blockbuster trips came to mind recently when the Blockbuster website was suddenly brought back online. And no one really knows why. 

Currently, the website only has a home page with a message that reads "We are working on rewinding your movie." Could this be a hint at a comeback?

Either way, this resurgence has made enough of a splash to warrant articles in The Guardian, USA Today and other top news outlets. Do you know what this tells me? I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic about the old days. Meaning, like, the early 2000s.

Even the music industry is hopping on board the nostalgia train. Just this last October, the Las Vegas Festival Grounds hosted When We Were Young, a huge multi-day music fest dedicated to the alternative music scene of the early 2000s. Top names at the concert included Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Paramore and other artists we weirdos grew up listening to. 

Late Millennials and early Generation  Z "Zoomers" are finally grown up and old enough to look to the past with longing eyes, wishing we could return to the simpler days of our youth. If only.

I am guilty of falling into this same loop myself. And TikTok knows it. These days, every post on my "For You" page starts with "POV: you grew up in the early 2000s." Yes, yes I did. You can stop reminding me now.

What can I say? I’m having a quarter-life crisis. Let me curl up with my pillow pets and wallow.

@_relaxyourmind_ Which one reminded you of your childhood?#2000s #throwback ♬ original sound - RelaxYourMind

I miss the days when Johnny Depp was still Jack Sparrow and Tobey Maguire was still Spider-Man. I miss Furbies, Betty Spaghetty dolls and pretend flip phones. I miss Nick at Nite marathons and Lindsay Lohan movies. 

I miss the accouterments of childhood when I didn’t have to make all of my own decisions. And I miss the days when those decisions weren’t yet made. 

Don’t get me wrong. I quite enjoy my life. I think my 12-year-old self would look up to who I am now and think I’m pretty cool. And isn’t that the dream for all of us?

But it would be nice to go back and visit once in a while. Not live, but visit. If only there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you leave them.

Still, whether the past didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, or the present isn’t going too well, I don’t think looking back is the answer. 

It's so easy to get lost in nostalgia, playing the past in your head on a loop, constantly wondering about the paths we didn't take, and maybe should have.

For those stuck in this loop, I understand, and I offer you this bit of comfort.

I watched "Alice Through the Looking Glass" in theaters when it came out in 2016. It was during a time of transition in my life, and I was leaving a lot behind.

One line in the film stood out to me and has stuck with me ever since. 

Near the conclusion of the film, Alice says goodbye to Father Time before returning to the real world from Wonderland. She compares time to a thief, stealing all she loves. But upon further thought, she amends her statement, saying to Father Time, "you give before you take."

It's easy to resent time. To blame it for taking away our youth, our innocence and everything we hold dear. But if that's true, then time has also given us these things too. And maybe it has a lot more to give.

Edited by Claire van Doren, Jasmine Kabiri and Caera Learmonth.

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