1. Before John Green dominated the Young Adult market in fiction, there were gems like Sarah Dessen and Megan McCafferty — who wrote the notable Jessica Darling series. You learned from their scatter-brained heroines that adolescence is a time for lukewarm beer, messing up (a lot), and falling in love with shady characters (like that Marcu Flutie).
2. You remember the day you found out that Britney and Justin broke up. On one hand, you were heartbroken because they were supposed to be a perfect couple. On the other, you were relieved because that meant Justin was single again.
3. While the generation before you monopolized the family computer to trawl AOL chat rooms, you kept begging Mom and Dad for “ten more minutes” so you could redesign your MySpace page.
4. Like anyone else who was relevant, you had an active Neopets account. Earning Neopoints was a serious pursuit.
5. When the series finale of Gilmore Girls aired, you felt as though you were being forced to say good-bye to an era of your life. You had grown up Lorelei and Rory’s bumbling adventures and acerbic wit — how else would you have learned about Patty Hearst?!
6. You were heavily invested in Lizzie McGuire’s romance with Ethan Craft, but you didn’t mind that much when she ended up with Gordo. We all saw it coming.
7. If you didn’t wear Abercrombie and Fitch (not American Eagle, not Aeropostale, but Hollister was okay too) back in the day, you were a nobody. For an embarrassingly long time, your outfit of choice was polo shirt on top and one of those miniskirts with a moose in the bottom corner.
8. Don’t even try to lie about it. For a period of time (no matter how brief it was), you popped your collar. In earnest.
9. On a more serious note, to this day, you will never forget where you were and what you were doing when you found out about 9/11. I was sitting in my third grade math classroom when my teacher abruptly left the room. When she came back, she was crying — which was jarring because grown-ups weren’t supposed to cry. 9/11 was a day that changed the color of your adolescence, and it’s weird to think that some kids in high school today don’t even remember it.
10. Just admit it: at some point growing up, you had a crush on Aaron Carter. These days, you would shy away from guys who had frosted tips like his. Back then, those kinds of guys were all the rage.
11. You watched shows like Laguna Beach and The O.C. and wished you lived in California where you could meet flippy-haired, surfer dudes and have exciting romances set to songs by the Shins.
12. During your middle school years, you fell prey to the “scene” subculture. This meant that you spent a lot of time at Hot Topic, wore excessive eyeliner, and tried to style your outfits after Avril Lavigne.
13. When Barack Obama announced that he would be running for president in 2008, he dropped many jaws, but he did the damn thing. You know that there’s a long way yet to go, but you’re proud of the progress we’ve made as a country in the past few years. And you’re #readyforHillary 2k16.
14. When a friend first introduced you to Facebook, you were skeptical. After all, what kind of social media platform doesn’t allow you to customize your profile with sparkly GIFs and My Chemical Romance songs? There was no way Facebook was going to get big, you predicted.
15. The WB was still the WB, not the CW. And it was still the premiere source of teen drama shows — like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which are leagues above the drivel it churns out now.
16. You remember a time when Drake was not a rapper but was instead a charming kid in a wheelchair on Degrassi. You also remember a time when the Black-Eyed Peas was the hot band du jour and Fergie’s solo career was a proud moment in the women’s movement.
17. When Britney Spears’ little sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, announced that she was pregnant, you were most upset about the fact that her lil’ bun in the oven meant that Nickelodeon would have to cancel Zoey 101.
18. You didn’t know what a “Hollaback Girl” was (and you’re still not entirely sure) but nonetheless, you memorized every word to that song.
19. Back then, teen starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes (and arguably, Miley Cyrus) had not yet gone off the deep end, and you idolized them.
20. Your parents forbade you from watching Sex and the City because they said it was inappropriate for someone your age, but you waited until they were out of the house to watch it anyways. You didn’t understand half the show’s references, but you thought that Carrie Bradshaw was the most glamorous woman in the world. And you wanted to be just like her when you grew up.
21. Your friends and you had legitimate arguments about which Jonas brother was the cutest. Nick Jonas, babe — it’s the hair.
22. You wore those multicolored plastic bracelets around your wrist. Each color stood for something different, and everyone knew what black stood for (ooh, kill ‘em). These bracelets became so prevalent and so problematic that some schools banned them.
23. You knew at least one person who had their first kiss to that Lifehouse song “You and Me.” Maybe, just maybe, you had your own first kiss to that song next to the bathroom at your best friend Bari’s bat mitzvah…
24. All the cool girls at school owned Juicy Couture velour suits — the coolest girl you knew owned one in every color. Naturally, you had to buy one — it was imperative for your image.
25. Though iPhones (and Droids, meh) have become ubiquitous nowadays, you still fondly remember your first cell phone: the Nokia Brick, which you mostly used to play that snake game and crank call your 6th grade crush.
26. SpongeBob Squarepants may now be a cultural icon in 2014, but you watched his show religiously before he became that popular. That lil’ sponge was a large part of your childhood and to this day, you still know the theme song to his show word for word.