Initially, I had planned to write about magazine milestones of the 20th century for this article. But as I was sifting through the many important magazine events, I started thinking, “What about the magazine milestones in my own life?” When I sat down and really thought about it, there are quite a few magazine milestones that mirror both the big and small events of my life.
In my childhood years–the 1980s–my biggest magazine milestone was when my grandfather gave me a gift subscription to National Geographic. I remember the thrill of receiving each issue in the mail and loving that it wasn’t a kids’ magazine.
I started off the ’90s with a subscription to People magazine and I read it obsessively. Julia Roberts was my favorite actress and I remember keeping up with everything going on in her life–from her Steel Magnolias Oscar nom to the “big break up” of her and Kiefer Sutherland. I also distinctly remember turning to Seventeen magazine for guidance on prom dress shopping (and later being disappointed when I couldn’t find a particular dress in the department store).
By the late ’90s I was in college and pursuing a journalism degree. Time and Newsweek magazines became must-reads–for good grades, that is; in my Mass Communications 101 class we were regularly quizzed on the magazines’ headlines. And though I was initially forced to read these magazines, I became a longtime voluntary subscriber.
I started off the 2000′s a college graduate and magazines like Lucky; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Self were my constant reads. An ideal Saturday afternoon for me was to leisurely dive into my stack of magazines. At that time I was enjoying life as a young professional who’d just moved to the big city; I looked to magazines to help shape my identity, and in turn my magazine reading habit became less obsession, more way of life.
In 2008, I got engaged and with my identity intact, magazines became not just a source of advice, but a practical communication tool. I tore out a picture (which I’ve since lost) of a Martha Stewart Weddings cake to show my baker; from the picture I was able to tell her what I wanted very easily. I did the same with a Southern Living Weddings magazine and my florist. Additionally I turned to Consumer Reports magazine for guidance on what to put on my wedding registry, The Knot for bridesmaid dresses and Budget Travel for honeymoon ideas.
I have no doubt when the time comes to start my family (not just yet, everybody) that I will turn to magazines as a trusted resource for advice on everything from the best baby gear to potty-training.
Until then, magazines will continue to play a role in the small events in my life too, like what’s for dinner tonight and which fall fashion trend I’ll adopt.