Where have all the decades gone?

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Am I that old that I remember six decades? Two centuries? And the first run of Gilligan’s Island? Somehow those numbers don’t sound real and when categorized that way, I feel a bit old.

Now that I have put to bed another decade, I must confess it has been a significant one which brought my life much change. Within ten years I have remarried, had twins, changed jobs, changed careers, built two houses, moved four times, relocated 400 miles, and began my hometown column. I’m tired just writing about it.

I’m envious of people who manage to stay married to the same person, raise their children in the same house, and remain in their job their whole career. However, with much change, comes much growth, and many life experiences. Life is never boring, but I could use a few more routine cycles.

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This past decade hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for the world we live in either. We lost our innocence this past decade. The attack of 9/11; the following catastrophic arrival of Hurricane Katrina and her evil twin Rita; the cost of our young heroes in two wars; and a horrible tsunami event that killed more than any one will ever know. We saw a shuttle break up over our skies and survived two economic financial crises. Or at least, we hope we are coming out of the second.

Yes, the decade saw some ugliness. Pluto, the planet got a demotion and we were introduced to an epidemic of reality star monsters such as Jon and Kate Gosselin, OctoMom, and the Balloon Boy family.

Besides the spread of crocs, (the shoes, not the man-eater) throughout the sea of population, the decade has introduced some good things as well. There have been highlights among the lowlights and low lifes.

On a personal note, during the past eight years for the most part, the Williams’s twins were a good addition; although, there have been a couple of days that I might reassess. It is good to have a full life, and even better when it overflows.

How has life changed? As a child of the sixties, the fact the past decade brought a black president into power can say much about our mind set as a people. We have made social upswings, but always need more improvement.

One change that is evident is that most Americans can look at their television viewing habits which reveals a changing trend of watching reality shows rather than sitcoms. Dating has become a game show, music performance has returned, not by the old fashion variety show, but through American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars. It is a bit like our old Lawrence Welk meets Candid Camera.

From the nervous beginning of this decade when we thought the Y2K would wipe out our computers, we have embraced and empowered our personal computers. A majority of Americans are hooked up to the internet and our vocabulary includes Wikipedia, Google, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Many folks don’t even buy cd’s, cassettes or records anymore thanks to Itunes, Apple Ipods and Mp3 players which became all the rave during the decade. This generation may never experience a stuck record, a loose cassette, or a scratched CD. Aren’t they missing out?

We shop, trade through eBay, and socialize online. Soon, they will just insert a plug into our brains for wi-fi internet connection. Can you imagine? Just bypass the computer and download your favorite song, movie, or friend status directly into your cranium.

Picture it — you are walking down the street singing along with your family song which is playing in your head, and suddenly you know your cousin is cooking chili and your friend has another cow on Farmville. Have we advanced at all? Really?

The future is upon us. The teens are here and not the wild twilight obsessed, Taylor Swift loving kind but the decade of the teens and who knows at the end of this decade what we can reflect upon. Will we continue to go forward with technology in leaps and bounds or will we sit in a holding pattern this decade?

Will everyone alive have participated in a reality show?

Will the disaster movie play out for real in 2012?

Will the new decade see the end of soap operas?

Will the New Orleans Saints finally make it to the Super Bowl?

In 10 years, the most monumental event of all may happen in my own home — an empty nest. The twins will be college age by 2020 and after 32 years of raising children, I will finally, oh yes, finally get a break. Ahh, the light is at the end of the tunnel, although the tunnel isn’t horizontal, but more like on a steep plane heading upward. It does have an end.

Goodbye zeroes! Hello 2010 and the new decade. Let’s make it a great one!

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at her website: myhometowncolumn.com