If I Could Turn Back Time- Why Would I Turn It To 1991?


If you’re like me, this is how you looked after consuming your Thanksgiving meal.

Maybe it was the tryptophan. Maybe it was the pie that pushed me over the edge. Maybe it was that last Hallmark (Lifetime? Ion?) holiday movie about going back to your teen years to try to prevent the 17 year old you from making life-changing mistakes.

Whatever it was, I awoke on Black Friday from a crazy dream. And I haven’t been able to shake it.

In my dream, I was transported back in time to 1991. I wasn’t 1991 me, I was 2013 me, trying to navigate through one day. As I encountered each scenario, I realized how different the world was back then.

Small example- a friend walked up to me and asked me to take a picture of her with her boyfriend. I said, “Sure. Give me your phone.”

They stared at me like I was insane. Back in 1991 hardly anyone had cell phones, and No one had camera phones, much less smart phones.

Since I woke up from the dream, I have been trying to determine: why 1991? Why would my mind try to go back to 1991?


At the beginning of 1991, I was a freshman at the University of Washington.

I was dating a Marine, whom I had met the previous summer. As I had left for my high school graduation trip my mother said to me, “Two things I ask. One: Do not walk alone on a beach at night. Two: Do not talk to any Marines.” I met him walking alone on Waikiki Beach one night. (In my defense, he looked a little like Tom Cruise from “Top Gun” and one of the restaurants had “Take My Breath Away” streaming out of their speakers. )

In early 1991, my Marine boyfriend was in Kuwait when Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm.

The relationship ended in the summer of 1991. There were a lot of reasons it ended, the number one being I wasn’t in love with him. Oh, and he was a man-whore.

I don’t have any regrets about the ending of the relationship, so that certainly couldn’t be why my mind picked 1991.

I had a bad spiral perm that instead of looking like this:


looked like this:

180447_10150096742524089_5443258_n (Unfortunately this is an actual picture of me)

In 1991 you could often find me sporting overalls.

overallshortsoverall shorts

overalldressoverall dress

And of course, always…

will-smith-one-strap-overalls-w352overalls with one strap down.

I had my Kswiss shoes, gleaming white…


I sported my cross colors t-shirts



My shirt like this may be long gone, but my husband still occasionally looks at me and says, “Ya dig?” In fact, just last year, as we were playing “Draw Something” he sent me this:


This is his impression of the me he met in 1992.

However, I don’t think my mind would send me back to 1991 to right the wrong of my fashion choices. There are so many other eras that would also need correcting. (The 70’s bell bottom comeback of 1999 anyone?)

In 1991 I went from working at a greeting card store in downtown Seattle to working at a music store at Northgate mall. (Kids, once upon a time, you had to physically drive to the mall and go into a store that sold only cd’s and tapes in order to buy music. (oh tapes? That’s a whole other post. And don’t even get me started on ‘CASSINGLES’) )

I remember the first time I heard Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” We had gotten an advance copy at the store, and Roy, our resident audiophile, was quick to put it on.

Other Roy, not to be confused with Troy or assistant manager Roy.

Troy was our manager. He drove a Geo storm and got fired for embezzlement. He dated a girl with an identical twin and liked to make insinuations about that.

Roy was our assistant manager. He was from Ohio and constantly talked about how he went to college with Melina Kanakaredes.


Other Roy smelled like patchouli, owned a laser disc player and taught me everything I needed to know about the Seattle Grunge scene. (Did you know that Pearl Jam was named for Earl the Pearl because Eddie Vedder is such a huge basketball fan? And that originally they were named ‘Mookie Blaylock’ after


but he didn’t like that so much, so he made them change it.)

Anyways, Seattle in 1991 was THE place to be for music. Sir Mixalot was hanging with his posse on Broadway getting ready to hit the world with “Baby got back,” Nirvana dropped “Nevermind,” Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were playing at local venues and everyone and their brother were forming bands.

I must admit that the first time I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” I wasn’t a fan. I listened to top 40 pop and R&B, and I thought it was just a bunch of noise. Since we played it round the clock in the store for about 2 weeks, though, I eventually came to like it. It was that or stab a hot poker in my ears.

But I don’t need to go back to 1991 for the music. I have a whole 90’s playlist on my iPod that I can listen to on demand.

George H W Bush was president. Rodney King was beat up by police, And the only computer I had access to was in the basement of my dorm building where we would go into “chat rooms” to talk to people.

I made choices that year that maybe I’d like to undo. I didn’t go to class as often as I should have. I changed my major 3 times. (I’m going into political science and I’m going to be a lawyer! No wait- I’m going to double major in communications and atmospheric science. I’ll be a weather girl! oh, I have a D- in atmospheric science. Probably should have gone to class more than 3 times. I guess I’ll be an English major since those are the only classes I actually like. I’ll figure out later what to do with an English degree. (Hint- you’re reading it))

I made poor relationship choices. Would I tell 1991 me, “No, probably not a good idea to date a guy with no job and a soon-to-be baby mama “ex”-girlfriend.” ? Would it matter?

In the holiday movie I watched, 2013 Kristin realized it didn’t matter what she told young stubborn Kristin, she was going to do it anyways. And also, if you change something in your past, good or bad, it changes a little of who you are. Maybe it changes a lot of who you are.


We are the culmination of our life’s experiences. The best lesson I can take from this dream is that 20 plus years from now I may have another dream, remembering back to 2013. The choices I make today may be the regrets of tomorrow, or they may be integral parts of the tapestry of my life as a 61 year old woman. I need to make today count.

Oh, and never get a perm again. Ever.