Adulting is rough. After the thrill of legally drinking wears off and you realize being old enough to rent a car isn’t that exciting, the reality of responsibilities kicks in. Car payments, student loans and cholesterol levels creep into your psyche, and if you’re a parent, forget it — you’re the Obi Wan Kenobi of adulting. So if the stress of adulting is getting to you, it’s time to (temporarily) forget all your troubles and remember a time when you were blissfully unaware and content. Let’s reflect back on the time of our youth in the ’80s and ’90s.
I decided to take myself (mentally, emotionally and somewhat physically) and you, the reader, back to a time of feeling carefree and happy: the time of our childhoods, where neon-anything was the perfect shade, puffy paint and Hypercolor gave rise to hipsters and music was nothing without a keyboard riff. Get ready to party like it’s
1999 1989, because it’s surprisingly easy to OD on nostalgia, especially in modern-day Atlanta, where I live. Let’s relive the thrills of the past with a few ways to take the edge off adulting!
If I’m going to somehow relive my childhood in 2017, the first place to visit is Babyland General Hospital, the birthplace of many of our first best friends: Cabbage Patch Kids. I probably wore out my original CPK, Essie Fanny, by constantly sniffing that unmistakable sweet, chocolatey/plastic smell emanating from her hard head. Adopt a new friend by driving to Cleveland, Georgia to visit this hybrid museum/retailer/faux labor and delivery department (the only thing that actually labors is the cabbage). My inner 5-year-old couldn’t wait as we pulled up to the huge mansion sitting atop acres of lush grass; my adult self could have gone without the “live” birth, which happens once every hour, as visitors witness a baby emerge from the crystal-covered cabbage and receive a dose of Imagicilin. Obviously, I’m not the target demo, but my kids LOVED seeing, touching and, of course, smelling, all those babies.
If Cabbage Patch Kids weren’t your thing, just peruse the toy aisle of your neighborhood Target. Modern takes on My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Barbie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are plastered throughout the toy section. Turn on Netflix, and it’s full of new animated series of old characters like these. When I need to satiate my inner child, all I have to do is rent Trolls, Smurfs or the upcoming Carmen Sandeigo.
Turn on the ol’ television (or whatever device you use to watch “TV”), and it’s like taking a digital time machine to when feathered bangs and synthesizers reigned supreme. “The Americans,” “The Goldbergs,” “GLOW,” “Wet Hot American Summer” and others offer us lucky viewers 30-60 minutes per week (more if you’re a binger) to remember the romanticized, and not-so-romanticized, glimpse of the past.
But the best of them all, IMO, is of course, “Stranger Things.” The reason I call this one out specifically is because this addictive series is filmed right here in Georgia! Want to check out the Upside Down? Dying to see where the characters study at Hawkins High School? Obsessed with Barb?! Drive through Tucker, Stockbridge, Lithia Springs, Douglasville and a few other cities outside Atlanta to possibly catch a glimpse of Eleven, ’80s icon Winona Ryder … or more realistically, a lucky extra.
If I had to choose one element that the ’80s is known for, it would have to be the fashion. And though you may be dreading the return of mammoth shoulder pads, put on your big girl acid wash jeans because lots of the looks are making a return.
I have such vivid memories of wearing my jelly shoes when I was little — sure, the shoes eventually smelled like death, and your feet were covered with blisters and cuts. But I’ll be damned if those weren’t your fave pair in the closet. Now we ladies can recreate the moment for 2017! Make your way to Nordstrom to buy the FENTY PUMA By Rihanna jelly slide — half jelly shoe, half slide sandal, all statement.If you got rid of your old Reebok Pumps from the early ’90s (which I’m assuming you have), rejoice because the brand has re-released the uber-popular athletic shoe. Though the look is sleeker and sexier than its predecessor, this baby still has the classic PUMP button atop the tongue.
As with the cyclical fashion world, there are always pieces coming back in style and then going into hibernation. Be on the lookout for H&M’s harem pants and those LulaRoe pattern leggings that will for sure bring you to back to your childhood.
Let’s complete our time traveling tour with awesome ’80s hangout experiences found right here in Atlanta. After recently catching the Tears for Fears and Hall & Oates show at Infinite Energy, my nostalgia was at an all-time high. At the concert, I did as I used to do with my sisters as a kid … I screamed the hell out of “Shout” and made my hands red from clapping to “Private Eyes.”
It’s too late to see that show, but you can still get your ’80s on at any of these permanent Atlanta hotspots that are totally bitchin’. Joystick Gamebar is an awesome bar that celebrates the classic arcades from our youth (just try to pry your husband away from NBA Jam). Disclaimer: My husband just bought that new Nintendo Classic mini and loaded it with every ’80s and ’90s video game known to man so I’m good on the game front, but it is nice to grab a pint in public and interact with other human beings. Or get physical at Sparkles Smyrna, a roller rink that will completely remind anyone of those awkward years. I never could pry my fingers off the safety wall. Complete a nostalgic night out at a citywide dance party, perhaps at The Basement in East Atlanta, or just stalk Atlanta’s freakishly talented ’80s cover band, Electric Avenue, to see where they’re performing next.Remember it’s all about balance when it comes to adulting. For every call to your health insurance company, sink your teeth into a Snoopy Sno-cone; after you take your car in for an oil change, binge-watch “The Americans” for that nostalgia fix; and most importantly, always Fight For Your Right to party!
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