Everything Old Is Always New Again

This isn't your grandmother's wallpaper. Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

These days, technology and trends are moving faster and faster. Just a few weeks ago, I heard about the HQ trivia app, a live streaming trivia app that allows you to win money (albeit very little) by answering mostly obscure trivia. Even something as new as live-streaming apps have a bit of a nostalgia — for starters, it’s a trivia game show, a genre that has been around for decades, and you have to log on at a certain time to play.

Lucky for me, there are some trends from back when I was a kid that are coming back into vogue now, and I have no problem jumping on the bandwagon (since technically, I never got off).

Wallpaper. Back when I was a kid, wallpaper was everywhere. My living room, my friend’s bathroom, my grandmother’s entire house. Then, like jean jackets and flannel shirts, wallpaper fell swiftly out of style. It brings to mind the scene from 2004 cult hit "Garden State" in which Zach Braff is wearing a shirt made out of wallpaper given to him by his mother’s friend in a bathroom decorated with the exact same wallpaper. All you can see is his face. But these days, wallpaper is everywhere. As Paulina Berbeian, a creative director at Brewster Home Fashions, told The Washington Post last year, "Young people who grew up in the clean, minimalism era have never had wallpaper," she explains. "So, naturally, I think they’re drawn to it because it feels new and exciting. And they’re making it their own."

Board games. I dread opening the box when my kids get new games from loving grandparents or friends. That’s because it takes an advanced degree just to decipher the instructions. So I was super pleased when I saw a whole aisle of vintage toys and games at Target — Sorry, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble — which all have simple, straightforward instructions, and they keep my kids occupied for hours. Win-win for everyone.

beautiful young woman browsing records in the vinyl record store
Younger generations are discovering the joy of vinyl. Thomas Andreas/Shutterstock

Vinyl records. In his book, "The Revenge of Analog," David Sax explains the thrill of buying and listening to a record. “[...] The act of playing a record seemed more involved, and ultimately, more rewarding, than listening to the same music off a hard drive: the physical browsing on album spines on the shelf, the careful examination of the art on the sleeve, the diligent needle drop, and that one-second pause between its contact with the record’s vinyl surface and the first scratchy waves of sound emerging from the speakers,” he describes. Indeed, more and more record stores have been opening, and record sales have surged in recent years. Sax explores why listening to vinyl records is such a draw. "It all involved more of our physical senses, requiring the use of our hands, feet, eyes, ears, and even mouth, as we blew dust from the record’s surface. There was a richness to the vinyl record experience that transcended any quantifiable measurement. It was more fun precisely because it was less efficient."

Bullet journals. Called the "analog solution for the digital age," bullet journaling is the latest Pinterest sensation. Bullet journals can be anything from inexpensive dollar store notebooks to fancy German notebooks with indexes and pages numbers and are essentially an analog diary/journal/planner. For many, it seems counterintuitive to go back to handwritten notes as opposed to keeping everything online, but writing things down actually helps boost memory and cognition. Indeed, one of the most successful programs for teaching reading to kids with dyslexia utilizes this multi-sensory approach – writing words out as a key component to helping kids internalize the rules they’ve learned. Hear the idea behind a bullet journal from the designer himself, and then check out the myriad of videos on YouTube. (Trust me, you’ll get hooked.)

There are other things too – barbers, big glasses and fanny packs. So why is it, that as a culture, we're becoming more and more attracted to the experiences of yesteryear? Explains Sax in his tome, “Surrounded by digital, we now crave experiences that are more tactile and human-centric. We want to interact with goods and services with all of our senses and many of us are willing to pay a premium to do so, even it if is more cumbersome and costly than its digital equivalent."