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Tag Archives: New Year’s

I write a “Year in Review” essay at the end of every year (except for the years when I don’t), and I just keep those documents saved in one of my folders on my laptop. I don’t share them with anyone; it’s just a way for me to review what happened in the world and in my life, and to refocus on what’s important heading into the next year.

But this year calls for something different. This isn’t just the end of 2009; it’s the end of the decade, the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. And without question, this decade includes more milestones for me than any other decade ever will.

Here’s a sample of the major events in my last decade:

2000—got arrested
2001—graduated high school, got diagnosed as a narcoleptic, went to college at Indiana Wesleyan University
2002—flunked out of college at Indiana Wesleyan University
2003—returned to Indiana Wesleyan, watched Ohio State win the national championship in football, declared myself as an English and writing major, rededicated my life to Christ
2004—hmmm, no real milestones here…but lots of fun times
2005—met the love of my life, ran a marathon
2006—graduated college, experienced unemployment, had my first article published, got my first “real” job (at Christianity Today International), moved to Illinois
2007—started doing more freelance writing, got engaged, got married, honeymoon, Barbie and I moved into our apartment together and did a lot of other first-time married couple stuff
2008—accepted a new job at CTI, continued to do freelance writing/editing projects
2009—got laid off, experienced unemployment again, did a lot of freelancing, moved to Delaware, Ohio, got a new job as a manager for Snap Fitness

That’s a lot of stuff for one decade. Two graduations, two periods of unemployment, one marriage, one arrest, one marathon, and one important recommitment to Christ.

And that was just a summary of my milestones; I didn’t even mention that almost all of my closest friends (and my sister) got married in this last decade. And some of my friends started having children in this decade.

Sure, I still have some milestones ahead of me… (for example, I’d like to get a cat some day) but no decade will be as filled with significant events as the 00’s were.

But for this post—for once—I’d like to attempt to be less narcissistic (consider it my New Decade’s Resolution). Instead of focusing solely on the significant events in my life, I want to recap the five most important events or trends we all experienced in the 2000’s.

Counting down from five, here we go:

5) The recession of 2008/2009

I don’t even want to write about this, because I’m sick of hearing about it. But whether I want to write about it or not, it affected a lot of people—correction: it’s still affecting a lot of people. The unemployment rates are still down, the housing market is still uncertain, our national debt—as always—continues to rise.

Twenty or thirty years from now (pray that we don’t experience another recession for that long), if we hear the word recession, I think we’ll have no trouble recalling the recession we experienced in this past decade. And for that, it makes the list.

4) Technological Advances

This is a huge deal; it’s only because we’re living through it that we take for granted how fast our technology has advanced in the past ten years. I got my first cell phone in this last decade…and I’m now on my fifth cell phone (which is probably below the average). We have Wi-Fi everywhere, Bluetooth, TiVo, GPS devices, Nintendo Wii, digital television (which could still use some advancements), High-Definition TV, iPhones, and iPods. They’re so prevalent now, it’s hard to believe that iPods haven’t been around forever, but no. If I’m not mistaken, they are a product of this past decade—or at least, that’s when they became a must-have for everybody and their brother.

Ten years ago, I had an email address, but even that was fairly new. I never thought I’d be checking my email from my phone now, but in terms of significant advances, as improbable as it might have seemed ten years ago, it probably ranks pretty low on the list.

I’m sure there have been a lot of advances in the world of medicine or robotics or something, but I’m not smart enough to know any specifics about things like that.

3) The election of Barack Obama

This is so recent, I hardly need to say anything about it. Only this: it was a big deal. Living in the Chicagoland area during the election in 2008, having watched his speech from Grant Park (on television, although I wish I would have gone), I feel like I can attest to the fact that his election as the first African-American president of the United States of America inspired a lot of people.
And I’ll just leave it at that.

2) War

Iraq. Afghanistan. We spent most of the decade at war in the Middle East. I don’t know how many Americans lost their lives in these wars (I was too lazy to look it up), but it was a lot. For those families, these wars would undoubtedly rank #1 on their list of most significant events in the past decade. But whether you served, know someone who served, or, like me, were not very closely tied to anyone serving overseas, these wars were still a huge deal. For our country, for our future, and for the whole world.
And even on my list, this would be number one if not for this:

1) 9-11

September 11, 2001.

Just now, as I started thinking of how to put this event in words, I got goosebumps.
The fact that this event still gives me chills more than 8 years after it happened, well, I think that says a lot about its lasting impact.

I’m sorry I have to conclude my top 5 with two unhappy events, but there’s no doubt that 9-11 was the most significant event in the 00’s.

Our generation will always remember where we were when we heard the news (a roommate woke me up at IWU, and after hearing that someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Tower, I mumbled, “What an idiot,” and I prepared to go back to sleep). Like the generations before us with Kennedy’s assassination, or Pearl Harbor, 9/11 is a rare event that suspended everything. A terrorist attack on U.S. soil—thousands dead: one doesn’t hear this news and just go about their day.

Since then, praise God, there hasn’t been another terrorist attack. But for those who remember what it was like to board a plane pre-9/11, the significance of this event is ongoing.

Honorable Mentions:
—Y2K: a lot of hullabaloo, but very little real significance
—Gas Prices: not an event, but still one of the most talked-about developments in the past decade
—Hybrid Cars: In the words of Larry David, “Hey, Prius!” (For you Curb Your Enthusiasm fans out there)
—Global Warming: In the words of Nelly, “It’s getting hot in here…
—Paparazzi: Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like paparazzi have gotten more and more active in the last decade. There’s TMZ (in my opinion, this is hands-down the worst show on television) and a host of other crappy TV shows that rely on images taken by slimeballs and/or amateur photographers with nothing better to do with their lives to capture intimate details of celebrities’ lives and share them with the general public. (I would say this is one of the trends I hate.)

Well, that’s it for my list. I’m sure I omitted some major events. Please chalk that up to the haste with which I wrote this piece and not my lack of concern for whatever major event it is that I’ve overlooked…

If you think of events that I omitted—or just want to share the most significant events in your life from the past decade—the comment section is all yours. Just scroll down.

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You’re almost there. Keep scrolling.

Oh yeah, and have a happy new year (and a happy new decade)!

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