Jason Fenler loves Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Ricky Martin, and Pokémon. This doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, until you learn that Jason was born in 1976. That makes him 38, but he considers himself a ’90s kid. And he’s not the only one.
Jason feels a warm wave of nostalgia wash over him when he sees Gak or hears “C’est La Vie” by B*Witched. But he was already in his mid-20s when these things were popular—well past the age of kids growing up in the ’90s.
“My whole life, I felt like I didn’t belong, but I couldn’t figure out why,” said Jason. “It’s because the toys, TV shows, and music of the ’80s mean nothing to me. Alf? Teddy Ruxpin? Duran Duran? I feel nothing for these.”
In fact, Jason far prefers watching reruns of Double Dare to watching any episode of Punky Brewster, and would much rather gaze upon his collection of gel pens than ever play an Atari. And ask him who Baby Jessica is, and Jason says he has no clue. The world expects him to be an ’80s kid, but he remains true to himself.
“Try being a 38-year-old commenting on message boards about how My So-Called Life is the show that defined your life. It’s not easy,” added Jason. “But it’s the way that I feel. I may have grown up in the ’80s, but I was a kid in the ’90s.”
If you think Jason’s situation is unique, think again: There are millions of adults born in different decades who identify as ’90s kids, either openly or in private.
Margery Snyder was born during the Hoover administration, but don’t let her frail old body fool you: On the inside, she’s just as much a ’90s kid as someone born in 1988. She had to wait 72 years until her eyes and ears fell upon JC Chasez, and it was then that her years of searching for something she couldn’t quite name came to an end; she was always a ’90s kid.
“I think JC is the most underrated member of *NSYNC,” said Margery.
For people like Jason and Margery and the many more like them, the road to acceptance is not easy. They get looks and stares when they try to join conversations about favorite Beanie Babies, or when they stop a 25-year-old on the street to ask what his favorite TGIF show was. But that doesn’t prevent them from being nostalgic for the time when they feel they were kids: the 1990s.