The Allure of Millennial Nostalgia

What’s fueling the obsession?

Kelsey L.O.

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Photo Credit: Zoi Lunyova

Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

The other day, I stumbled upon something in my Instagram discover feed that stopped me in my tracks. It was an account dedicated entirely to the American Girl Doll catalog from the ’90s, which I used to obsess over as a little girl.

For me, this discovery was more than just a fleeting moment of online nostalgia; it was a portal to a simpler time in life where my beloved Samantha doll served as a comforting companion through the ups and downs of my childhood- which included the divorce of my parents and an international move to Norway at the age of 12. Sadly, my doll was lost in that move, and I often dream of finding her in a forgotten corner of my parent’s attic.

As I delved deeper into the account, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of memories surging through me. It was like stepping through a time machine, whisking me away to a more innocent world where doll outfits and meticulously crafted furniture sets excited me like nothing else.

It took a moment to remember I was in 2023 and now an adult with responsibilities like making sure my taxes are filed on time.

It seems to be a trend that has been gaining momentum for a while now — millennial nostalgia. Our childhood treasures and youthful experiences have taken center stage in pop culture discourse, and there’s no clear reason as to why.

Notable examples:

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Kelsey L.O.

Texan/Norwegian = Texawegian. Forever dwelling in the realm of possibility and curiosity. Editor of The Lucid Prose. Find me on instagram: @hellokelseylo