Remember when we all used to be into nostalgia?

Those were good times. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

I am what is known as an “Elder Millennial.” Allow me to me set the generational stage.

I’m young enough never to have known a time without internet, but also old enough to know how a rotary phone works…or even what it is to begin with. 

As far as I’m concerned, this means I’m still much too young for my childhood to be inspiring popular memes among the Kids These Days(™), thank you very much. 

But somehow we’re in the midst of a resurgence of ‘90s fashion and trends—comebacks that throw me for a loop. Having come of age during that era, it’s not one I think we should revisit as an example of great style.

Grunge, neon, and jeans so low-slung they barely count as trousers? They weren’t all that good the first time around.

And yet, Gen Z, which sets the fashion standard now, apparently groupthinks that the turn of the century is now cool and retro, much like my millennial sisters and brothers boosted late ‘70s and early ‘80s fashion revivals. 

Meanwhile, as we reach the point of having families and established careers, it’s probably natural for millennials to look back toward childhood with rose-colored glasses. 

Cases in point:

First, Tamagotchi, the little virtual pet housed in a plastic egg that was a huge craze in Japan and the US in the ‘90s, have come back.

The relaunched throwback version sold a whopping 82 million units globally in 2019; there’s even now a Tamagotchi smartwatch. It actually seems like a decent combination of fitness tracker and mindless entertainment for a somewhat reasonable price (around US $68).

I can see it being a huge hit in Japan, as well as with a certain type of millennial who still sometimes wonders if their Neopet is alive.

Next up: Trading cards. Yes, they’ve always been an alternative investment for some, but right now, Pokémon is huge. On eBay, listings for Pokémon cards were up 1,046% in the first quarter of 2021, and even brand-new releases are causing commotion.

Target shut down sales of Pokémon cards in its stores for a month this spring, citing customer safety after an armed altercation in a Wisconsin store parking lot. And now, folks are digging old cards out of their parents’ basements and selling them for thousands of dollars a pop.

Meanwhile, card-grading services, which authenticate collectibles and certify what condition they’re in, are so overwhelmed that many have months-long backlogs...or have closed entirely to new requests.

“The reality is that we recently received more cards in three days than we did during the previous three months,” Steve Sloan, the president of Professional Sports Authenticator, told Polygon.

Of course, this isn’t all that unique, as I suspect members of other generations will attest. And it’s not just that millennials have collectively skipped enough avocado toast brunches to have some disposable income again.

Instead, nostalgia—and specifically personal nostalgia, reminiscing on our own past experiences—can provide an essential coping mechanism in times of stress or turmoil. Which we’ve experienced none of in the past year and a half, right?

A study in the American Journal of Psychology found that people who were more prone to nostalgia had overall better coping mechanisms and were more likely to reach out for help and support than people who blocked off the past.

“These memories can fuel the courage to confront our fears, take reasonable risks, and tackle challenges,” said study author Krystine Batcho. “Rather than trapping us in the past, nostalgia can liberate us from adversity by promoting personal growth.”

That’s comforting just to think about. So don’t mind me; I’ll just be over here firing up my old first-generation Tamagotchi once again. It just might help me through these troubled times.

Call for comments: Do you have any old toys or collectibles squirreled away? Did you keep them for sentimental reasons or as a sort of investment? And, heck, what do you think about nostalgic consumerism overall?

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