I remember the start of the new millennium – I was a wide-eyed four year-old sitting on the boot of my parents’ car as they explained what it meant. It was really just another new year’s eve, but I gazed into the night sky with excitement, imagining the same flying cars and high-rise buildings from one of my favorite TV shows, The Jetsons. We were all feeling hopeful and it even transcended into fashion – if you’ve noticed, the mismatched Y2K trend actually blurs the lines between retro styles and futuristic aesthetics. Music videos extracted shiny elements from sci-fi movies as a backdrop for ringtone-friendly tunes and metallic-looking pop stars. Furniture and electronics were transparent but brightly-cloured, experimenting with cutting-edge shapes and miniature sizes. In all aspects, the dot-com age was glaringly optimistic and openly visionary – something we could all use right now.

 

I was still a child during the Y2K era – I got to enjoy butterfly clips and baguette bags, the stickiest lip glosses and most pigmented eyeshadows, and even the embarrassing trend of wearing skirts and dresses over jeans, but I missed the bold streaks, video vixen aesthetic, and because of this weather, the velour tracksuits: a socialite staple. Gwen Stefani was my fashion icon at the time with her innate sense of cool and creative expression of different styles. She exuded confidence and freedom from the opinion’s of others – traits I couldn’t wait to emulate as an adult. But as a teenager and young adult, I ended up wearing all-black and a face full of makeup in an attempt to look older. I smized more than I smiled, worked more than I played, and was in such a rush to grow up, that now at 26, the thought of getting older has triggered genuine panic attacks. Enter: my inner child.

 

We all have an inner child and it has nothing to do with maturity. The definition differs for each person – some may long for the carefree years of their childhood, others may have buried the traumatic years of their childhood. Either way, it’s important to get back in touch with your inner child to heal the pain or reclaim positive qualities, such as creativity and zest for life. Our inner child is our way of being, so it takes real self-care to address any past issues and treat the wounds we’ve carried into adulthood. Tapping into this awareness can help us deal with future challenges better, relieve stress, and even lead a more fulfilling life as we reconnect with our dreams. Here’s how I embraced my inner child after experiencing fear and anxiety about growing up.

 

The Y2K trend couldn’t have come at a better time. It started popping up on TikTok when I was dreading turning 26. Thrifty Gen-Z kids were sporting the laid back looks that were once even appropriate for red carpet events. The easy-going attitude from the early 2000s was making its way back, bringing with it fearlessness and vitality in fashion and throughout. It’s been a much-needed pick-me-up during this pandemic. Polly Pocket has returned to shelves, Lizzie McGuire has been revived by Color Pop Cosmetics, and Instagram has been actively remembering classics, such as The OC and New York Minute. These unlocked meaningful memories that I had kept away, evoking dreamy, childlike feelings of faith and possibilities. From painting my nails the brightest colors (they used to rotate between black and nude), and decorating my sleek bob with striking streaks and multicolored clips, to dressing in a combination of bold hues and even bolder prints – these seemingly small things have made me feel happy and wondrous again. Embracing my inner child has me less focused on the destination, and instead, busy painting the moments in between with contentment and light-hearted pleasure.