Sunday, December 27, 2009

Has it been that long already?

Ten years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already! But it has.

We survived the first decade of the new millennium!

As I was beginning to think about my annual Christmas gift-giving a few days ago, the thought occurred to me that we have, indeed, made it to the end of the first decade of the 2000’s! Well, almost. Another few days.

The new millennium was a big deal, you probably recall. It was the Mother of all New Years celebrations.

Do you remember where you were? I remember where I was. (I also remember where I was supposed to be.)

Some of you are probably wondering how thinking about my annual Christmas gift-giving caused me to think about the end of the decade. You’ve probably jumped to the conclusion that it’s been 10 years since I purchased a decent gift for anyone. Wrong. It’s been much longer.

Actually, I was contemplating, as I do most years, simply ordering custom-made T-shirts for my close friends and family members. For some reason, however, I always demure, usually over the same nonsensical notion: “What if they, for some unknown reason, don’t WANT a T-Shirt with my picture on it?” Silly me. What a foolish notion. Of course they would adore their own Rod-Boy T-Shirt!

But, again this year, I passed on the original concept, and started thinking instead about a T-Shirt with a Meaningful Slogan on it. The slogan that kept running through my mind, given the state of the economy and all, was “I Survived 2009”… which I thought would make a pretty swell T-Shirt.

And then it hit me: We’ve not only survived 2009! We’ve all survived this entire decade: January 1st, 2000 – December 31st, 2009. Ten whole years of the new millennium have slipped right by.

Do you remember computer geeks throughout the world preparing all of us for Y2K, the computer calamity that could have crippled the world if we had not been ready for it?

There was also an ongoing controversy over exactly when the new millennium actually began: Jan 1st,2000, or Jan. 1st 2001. While the 2001 advocates were technically, mathematically correct, it really didn’t matter, because the rest of the world was set to celebrate the onset of 2000.

I remember wondering in this newspaper column what name we would give to the decade. How would we refer to it? All the other decades were easy to say: The 90’s. The 80’s. The 70’s, 60’s and 50’s. Would we call it the 00’s, I wondered. Here it is ten years later, and I still don’t know what we call the decade we’re about to complete.

I can tell its been a long time, because 10 years ago, I actually had learned how to spell the word “millennium”, since it was used frequently during the big build up to Y2K. Now, however, I find myself needing to look up the correct spelling to write this column!

A lot can happen in 10 years. We went from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama during the period. Technology happened so fast that no one can really keep track of it anymore. We went from a booming economy to a recession. And speaking of “booming”, we baby-boomers all slid quietly into middle age. Okay, upper-middle age, maybe.

In the history books, I suppose, the period will be defined largely by the events of that day 20 months and 11 days into the decade: 9/11/2001. That day changed history. That day changed lives. And that day suddenly brought a sudden end to the excited euphoria and wondrous innocence that had ushered in The New Millennium. Just that quickly, the New Millennium came of age.

All in all, it’s been a heckuva decade. And it’s almost over… if you’re using the Jan. 1, 2000 calendar.

For the rest of the family, I’ve decided once again against the T-Shirts for Christmas.

But I think I will order one for myself:

Jan. 1, 2000 – Dec. 31, 2009: I Survived the First Decade of the New Millennium!

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