Yesterday I was thinking about blogging about some ways we could use time in order to have a feeling of accomplishment as we finish off the year. I will still blog about that, but meanwhile, last night, I suddenly realized this is not only the end of a year, 2009, but the end of a decade, the first decade of the 21st century. This idea led my thinking in a whole different direction, pondering these past ten years.
Of course, we laugh now as we think of how, in the months leading up to 2000, there was the big build-up to “Y2K”. For those reading this who may not have heard of it, Y2K was when, as we approached midnight of December 31, 1999, due to a problem with the calendars in many computers, it was thought that one minute into January 1, 2000, many computer systems would crash, causing worldwide disasters, including power outages. Fortunately, due either to frantic searching for solutions, or to this possibly being mostly hype, we survived and did not have to use our kerosene lamps and stockpiles of food and bottled water! (Some people had amassed months of emergency supplies, as the threat was made to sound quite real and serious.)
Although Y2K was basically insignificant, for a lot of people it began a decade in which tragic events occurred which caused many lives to be lost and many to be never the same again. Here are a few. The Gujarat earthquake of January, 2001. The attack on America on September 11, 2001. The Iraq war. The Afghanistan war. The European heat wave of 2003. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Hurricane Katrina, 2005. The Sichuan, China, earthquake of 2008. Cyclone Nargis, Burma, 2008. The economic downturn. (Click here for more info on natural disasters of this past decade.) I am sorry about the losses suffered by those affected by these (and other) events, and I hope that the new year and decade ahead will be a time of new hope and restoration.
What else have we seen in this decade? One thing is the continued increase of technological advances. The iPod. The iPhone. Lots of text messaging. Social networking. Facebook. Twitter. As this ABC News article states, “The ’00s have brought us blogs on every subject, random thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, 10,000 songs in our pockets and piano-playing cats on YouTube.” We can access and share information so fast now that it seems unbelievable. We can so quickly “connect” with so many people we have never met in real life. We can “add” them, “friend” them, and “block” them. Is all of this good? Is it bad? Or is it just different? Is our communication more effective with these tools? Perhaps so – or is it just faster? Is it shallower? Perhaps. I welcome your comments on this. What do you think? Interestingly, I just noticed that in writing the above sentence and question I am actually part of this “communication revolution” myself, lol! I am asking you, my readers, many of whom may be people I don’t know, to interact with me on a blog. This is new for me, but I’m thinking and hoping I will like it!
How has this decade been for me, personally? How have I grown, changed? It’s hard to summarize ten whole years without making this post longer than I want it to be, so I’ll focus briefly on just the last few years. I’m happy that I have become more “goal-oriented” in the last couple of years. Instead of merely making New Year’s resolutions, I have been writing down goals and developing the habit of thinking often throughout the weeks and months, about what I want to do, and what steps I’ll need to take to accomplish these goals. Reading a lot of articles about goal-setting and time management has really helped me to keep my goals in view. As a result, I have achieved at least some of them, starting this website being one.
Another significant development for me in this decade has been my renewed interest in art. Around 2007, while working in a call centre, I noticed some of my co-workers honing their drawing skills while waiting for calls. (We were allowed to do quiet activities like that, between calls.) Inspired, I decided to buy some felt pens and start making abstract designs. Since then I have been exploring being creative with pastels and acrylics. In 2009 I have been mainly using acrylics, and in October this year I displayed some of my paintings at a local coffee shop. In pondering this seemingly “new-found” art interest, I realized that I have had an “undercurrent” of interest in art for most of my life, but it was dormant. I used to draw cartoons occasionally (such as Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Dennis the Menace, and a few others.) Our family frequently visited our local art gallery on Sunday afternoons. I enjoyed these trips, and, in retrospect, I feel that these visits instilled in me an appreciation for art, although if you had asked me even five years ago if I was interested in art, I probably would have said, “No.” Isn’t it funny how these things can be deep inside, unnoticed, waiting to be awakened decades later? In me it’s like embers that are being re-kindled into flames, and I am excited about seeing where my art will lead!
How has this past decade been for you? What have you learned? How have you grown as a person? What are your hopes for 2010 and the new decade? I look forward to reading your comments. Let’s connect.