I Wish I Was a Teen in the Mid-2000s


By Indy Hauter

I don’t belong in this world. As a 20-year-old experiencing adulthood for the first time, I can plainly see just how messed up our planet is, and I hate it. Climate change is causing annual forest fires in California, politicians would rather see their opponents in their graves than in office and paying for gas requires taking out a loan with the bank — thanks again, Biden! I’ve only lived in the real world for a little bit, but I don’t think I can handle this darkness plaguing our lives! When I was younger I couldn’t wait to grow up, but I would’ve stayed a kid if someone told me that adulthood means I have to argue with strangers on Twitter and make my own doctor’s appointments. What I need is a time machine, one that can turn back the clock to a certain time period and regress my age. What is this certain time period, you ask? Well, it’s the golden years of human civilization: the mid-2000s, of course! Don’t try and trick me. I know the 2000s were completely free from despair and negativity. There was no large-scale threat of global war, the air was just so much more crisp and free from all those greenhouse gases and technology was just advanced enough to provide unimaginable luxuries yet also devoid of all the negative qualities that accompany 2024 internet usage (like zip bombs and IP address leaks). I just want to go back and relive my childhood … but as a teenager whose only responsibility is driving their little brother to baseball practice every other weekday. Sure, some might say I’m running away from the problems of our future, but I’m just leaving them in the hands of more qualified people.

Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the peak of emo culture and listen to My Chemical Romance with your friends all huddled together in the corner of the English II classroom? Back then, band shirts only cost 8 bucks. Now, inflation makes a trip to Spencer’s feel like aggravated assault against your wallet. You’d also be enjoying the true golden age of pop punk! All the most popular songs would talk about a dude getting cucked by his girlfriend with the greatest guitar distortion you’ve ever heard jamming out in the background. See, in this world, I’m just a teenager. I can’t do anything to fix our country’s problems. The politicians and higher-ups should focus on “healing our country” while I listen to Paramore on my dad’s new stereo and partake in the “illegal” activity of getting high. 

And don’t get me started on the pure luxury that the 2000s entails. Have you seen those nostalgia posts on TikTok? Imagine hanging out in your room with your friends for a sleepover, gorging on now discontinued snacks like Trix Yogurt and Surge and watching the new episode of Zoey 101. I’ve heard that some people lost their jobs and their houses in 2008 (I don’t understand how you lose something so big?) but that wouldn’t happen to me when I travel back in time. In the past, I couldn’t get sick because Covid didn’t exist yet, climate change wouldn’t cause tornadoes to rip through my neighborhood every month and my parents would just supply me with whatever CDs or PS2 games I want.

The world back in the 2000s was just more peaceful, too. Geopolitical tensions weren’t as heated as they are today. Russia didn’t really care that much about Ukraine back then, North Korea wasn’t threatening America with missiles and China was just minding their own business. Obviously 9/11 was a horrendous tragedy that struck fear into the hearts of all Americans, but that only happened once. On the other hand, as we live in the digital age, our lives are threatened every day by some hacker halfway across the globe trying to steal your credit card information. Don’t lie to me and say you’ve never gotten up in the morning and saw a Google notification about a suspicious login from a foreign country — it’s a part of everyone’s morning routine at this point. Just imagine being a teen in the 2000s and getting to enjoy the benefits that come with world peace! Instead of having to worry about ICBMs flying over my head, all I have to worry about is if Natalie is gonna go to the Turnabout dance with me next weekend. 

In the year 2024, everyone hates each other and wants to see the world burn. Back in the mid-2000s, though, life was filled with a magical sense of joy and serenity. The FBI wasn’t spying on you through your phone camera, and there was no such thing as a “data breach.” I wouldn’t worry about my “responsibilities” like rent or taxes. I would just play video games all day while talking to my friends on my state-of-the-art Blackberry phone (hopefully Natalie goes with me to the dance!) With the direction our world is heading, the near future might not even happen. I don’t want to deal with all that stress and anxiety over trying to save our planet. I just want to go back in time and relive the era of my childhood, so I can find some peace in this world. Let someone else figure out how to amend foreign tensions and find alternative energy sources. In the meantime, I’ll just be lounging in my childhood room playing Kingdom Hearts. 

  • February 5, 2024