The year is 1990. You have nothing to do – homework done, school is out, and your friends are all in their houses. WTF do you do with yourself?
Do you a) call a friend on their landline and risk their mom picking up? b) walk outside and stare at a tree? or c) go to the mall?
u/_mayora13_ recently asked the r/NoStupidQuestions sub on Reddit, “Teenagers before the internet: what did you do in your room during your spare time? What activities did you do (by activities I mean hobbies or things to pass time)? Also were you more easily bored?”
Let’s check out the best answers.
1. Things to do
Cds, radio, trying to make mix tapes, magazines, books, video games… talk on the phone
Waiting for the radio to play your favorite songs so you could record them took a big chunk of time
Mostly video games, but my best friend and I did spend one Summer making a claymation version of “Pulp Fiction” using characters from Gumby. That was a fun one
4. Other stuff
Read. A lot. Watched movies. That’s assuming I was home in my room. Which wasn’t a lot… I was out at the mall with friends, or hanging out at their houses, going to movies, arcades etc.
5. The phone
Talking on the phone! Clicking over to the other line when call waiting beeped. Getting in trouble when you aunt was trying to call your mom and it was obvious both lines were busy. Or you just never answered the call waiting. She definitely told on you.
6. Never bored
Reading, listening to music, drawing and creating, playing/hanging out my brothers and friends. I spent a lot of time in my room and was never bored.
Walked all over the neighborhood. Would just show up at friends houses (pre-common cell phone usage) to say hi and do something silly like jump on their trampoline for ten minutes together and then leave on the next part of my walk. Listened to music and thought my deep teenager-thoughts. Played SNES and practiced band instruments. Read magazines and SO many books. Honestly didn’t spend a ton of time just in my room in my free time, it was mostly going out and doing things.
I would listen to music, read teen magazines, talk to my friends on the phone (land line) for hours, and day dream about marrying Eddie Vedder.
9. In the room
I read, listened to music, cleaned my room, wrote in my journal, decorated my walls, did homework, read magazines, played around with makeup, tried on outfit ideas for school.
Watched vhs tapes, TV, read a book, listened to the radio waiting for your favorite song with your cassette tape ready to be recorded on, went outside to visit friends, talk on the phone.
11. We didn’t stay inside
We honestly didn’t hang out in our rooms that much: We played football in the street outside and rode our bikes and rollerblades around with neighborhood kids. My family didn’t have a video game console, but sometimes we’d go play MarioKart at friends’ houses if the weather was bad. If we hung out in our rooms we’d do things like play Crazy Bones, Pogs, or Pokémon cards. Or talk on the landline to friends if it wasn’t being used.
12. It’s hard to remember
I read a lot. It bothers me that my attention span isn’t what it used to be. I can’t seem to stay focused on books now. Listened to music. Talked with friends on the phone. I wrote a lot. Stories. Letters (!). Drawing. I grew up before home computers. Honestly, it’s sometimes hard to remember how we filled our time but I wasn’t bored.
13. Phone calls
We had this whole system of doing a 6 way phone call at night, and we’d all know to start it at 3 mins after the hour. You’d pick up the phone and dial an automated line, so that when the call comes in the phone would t ring the entire household.
14. Lots of stuff
I read a lot of books, wrote my own stories, wrote in a journal, built extremely detailed Lego houses, played on my DS and Game Cube, talked on the phone in the evening. As I got older I started doing latch hooks and cross stitches.
15. Outdoor fun
Video games or we went outside and played. Rode bikes, explored the woods, play baseball, etc.
I wrote so much bad poetry.
17. Attention spans were longer
Read books, watched TV, listened to music, did a lot of drawing and painting. I think I was a lot less bored, as I had a longer attention span.
Lie about where the Victoria’s Secret catalog is
I’m 63, was a teenager from 1973 to 1979. The short answer is nothing. We weren’t wealthy, and my brother and I had 2 single beds in a10x10 ft room. I left my room at about 530am to deliver newspapers, went back at about 930 pm to sleep.
We read a lot, rode bikes to our friend’s houses, talked on the phone for hours.