December 31, 2009

The last day of the year and the decade is here at last.

It's been a rough decade at the national and international level, but at a personal level, I've really enjoyed it, especially this completely anomalous last year.

Look back.

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Reminisce.

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Talk about what happened in the past.

Happy Hollow

37 comments:

Pogo said...

I attended too many funerals in 2009; gave three eulogies.

I don't want to get good at eulogies.

I was motivated to write my own eulogy, sparing the kids the task, but all I could come up with was opposable thumbs and generally prompt.

Perhaps instead I'll record a video of my life using hand puppets and old cartoon sound effects, though the temptation to throw in a boing-oing-oing here and there will be tough to resist.

And I'll likely have to tell someone else's more interesting life story, lest the few attendees become drowsy.

traditionalguy said...

2009 was a turning point for many clients who went from active in a good business to hiding away from creditors until the national economy reopens for business. They have become very sober and now value their family more than the old rich lifestyles that had them addicted to getting and spending more and more. Their new curse word is debt. In any event the only bank in operation lending money is the Federal Reserve Bank.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was only twenty when the year turned 2000. My life is completely different now than it was then. Much better. (Something that is probably true of most people comparing being twenty to being thirty.)

OhioAnne said...

2009 took me by surprise in some ways. I felt like a spent the year trying to catch up because I overslept at its beginning.

2010 however is bringing good vibes.

Freeman Hunt said...

Another difference: Ten years ago at this time, I was preparing to host a huge party with my housemates. Ha ha ha. The details would be boring, but the difference between then and now is so stark, it makes me laugh out loud.

Scott M said...

Nobody's mentioned yet that the decade doesn't end until the end of 2010?

rdkraus said...

My family and I had a pretty good decade. Should I feel guilty?

The Den Mother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Den Mother said...

THANK YOU, SCOTT M! Think of it this way: there was no year zero, so 1 A.D. was the first year of the decade and 10 A.D. was the last year of the decade.

Scott and I wish the rest of you a wonderful upcoming final year of the decade.

:)

Rialby said...

Scott M - perhaps so, but nobody looks at 1980 or 1990 and thinks of those years as part of the 70s or 80s.

Someone did a riff on that once - that a certain decade didn't really begin until x date. Where do I remember that from?

peter hoh said...

Yeah, we know there was no year zero. On the other hand, the year 2000 was not part of the 1990s.

And yeah, I'm glad to put this decade behind me and move on to the next one.

k*thy said...

The last decade has been the best 10 years of my life. Here's to taking it one day at a time...

Rialby said...

Actually, now that I think about it - 1980 was a Carter year which is very 70s.

Looking at this list of number one singles from 1980 - I thought all of these songs came out in the 70s!

And the Soviet Union still existed in 1990 so that seems very 80s in retrospect. "Nothing Compares 2 U" from Sinead O'Connor was the top song of the year - again a very 80s vibe to that one.

Robert Cook said...

"Yeah, we know there was no year zero. On the other hand, the year 2000 was not part of the 1990s."

Yes, it was; it was the final year of the 1990s and of the 1900s.

2001 was the first year of the 00's and of the 21st Century. 2010 will be the final year of the first decade of the 21st Century, and 2011 will be the first year of the second decade of the 21st Century.

Anyone who says otherwise is indisputably wrong.

Paddy O. said...

There wasn't a year zero, but there was a year -1.

All the best estimates suggest that Jesus was born sometime between -6 and -4.

Years are arbitrary as it is.

Numbers, however, are symbolic as they represent change and progress. Adding another number to a column, especially one that does not get added to very often, prompts awareness of the symbolic change in status and time.

No one knew it was 1 when it was one, and weren't aware it was 10 when it was ten, so I think we can go ahead and shortchange that inaugural generation a year and affirm the decade changes with the symbols.

We add a 1 to the tens column of our arbitrary set of years, and we say this is the beginning of a new stage, a new set of numbers.

Meanwhile the pedants grumble about the actual accuracy.

Achieving symbolic progress and making pedants grumble is cause for extra celebration by the masses. Happy New Year and Happy New Decade everyone!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rdkraus said...

My family and I had a pretty good decade. Should I feel guilty?

No. Your having a good decade does nothing to prevent others from also having a good decade. Life is not a zero-sum game. Unless you had a good decade by stealing ( or taxing ) from others, you have nothing to feel guilty about.

Professor Althouse has clearly had a very good year, and most of us who read her blog are richer for it.

SteveR said...

For the technically correct reasons, the last day of 2009 (we can agree on that!) marks perhaps the first time I've agreed with Robert Cook.

In any case the last ten years have ben mostly good, the wonderful blossoming of my three daughters and the continued love of a great wife. My health, thanks to MS has not been so good althugh it could be worse in many ways.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I've had a great year, in spite of being unemployed for the last 5 months. Family is most important, and outlook and attitude count for a lot too. Bama winning the national championship helps a bit too. ( Roll Tide! )

I hope you all had a great year and decade, and wish you all an even better year and decade to come.

chuck b. said...

I went from being 30 to 40 this decade, and there is not so much difference. My circumstances have changed (greatly improved) but I don't think I have changed much personally.

(Does that seem reasonable to all of the much, much older people here?)

When you're young you can't really appreciate the fact that you spend most of your life being...not young. And every year is very different than the year before and time seems to pass very slowly. Then as you get older, there are fewer changes while simultaneously the passage of time seems to accelerate.

So is growing and changing an important part of holding on to your life? And don't you at some point just want to enjoy the outcome instead of always the process?

vbspurs said...

THANK YOU, SCOTT M! Think of it this way: there was no year zero, so 1 A.D. was the first year of the decade and 10 A.D. was the last year of the decade.

Oy vey, this reminds me of the guest host on the Rush show today. He started off the hour by going into detail why 2010 is not a new decade.

Guys, we know. Stop being pedantic, please. It's tedious. Human beings register "newness" in a curious way, and there's nothing more new than seeing a number go from 09 to 10. It FEELS like a new start, regardless if there was no Year 0.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

I went from being in my 40s to being in my 50s in this decade, and though I was afraid to go into the 50s -- it seemed like falling off a cliff into irrelevancy -- it turned out to be the most pleasurable section of my life (so far). I don't love being closer to death, but I do love being old (while still healthy). It's much easier living in the present when you don't have to think so much about the future.

Richard Dolan said...

A snowy day in NYC is a perfect time to look back. But who's got the time, what with the need to pull together tonight's get-together with old friends and all that?

I began '09 with a resolve to read all the Shakespeare plays, but only got through five plus a few books by Greenblatt and Garber before getting sidetracked into Faulkner, Joyce and other stuff. So I'll have to finish them in '10.

Pogo talks about having to go to too many funerals and starting to think about his own. I've been to more than I care to remember this year as well. The upside is that it helps one focus on what matters, making it easier to shed what doesn't.

Looking back over the 5 years or so that I've been reading this blog and (occasionally) adding a comment, it's easy to see the same trajectory in others, as the focus on what matters gets a bit sharper. Our hostess (who re-entered the ranks of the married in a singularly spectular way in '09) has tired of stuff like American Idol (at least that's my impression) in favor of more telling examples of pop culture to write about. The trolls and mobys who show up now and then have a harder time hijacking threads or making themselves the focus of discussion.

If talking about what happened in the last decade is today's themen, then one of the main developments of the '00 decade is that the blogging world grew up. It was nothing 10 years ago; today it's a force to be reckoned with. That's a long journey in a short time, in no small part because of folks like Drudge, Althouse, Glenn R, the Volokh gang, Steve McIntyre, Becker-Posner and many, many others.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

it seemed like falling off a cliff into irrelevancy -- it turned out to be the most pleasurable section of my life (so far).

See how great it is to be on a precipice?

vbspurs said...

I absolutely loved the 00s (Noughties).

For an historian like me, I felt the Fukuyamian lack of history of the 1990s acutely. Darned if I can remember the 1992 British general election, and I have NO memory of Bob Dole's run for the US Presidential election. Politics played zero role in my life then. I was a conservative all my life, but not ideologically so until the decade we're closing out.

My life hasn't undergone the dramatic change of Freeman's life, but then I wasn't born to the same realities most people here and elsewhere expect to undergo. I didn't have a prom, I didn't go to my graduation, I was an extraordinarily well-travelled person by the time I was 16 (thanks to my parents peripetetic moves), had lived in 4 continents by 21, and had been engaged twice by 25.

I seem destined for something, given my upbringing and character, that I know -- but I'm turning the Book of Life's pages slowly.

And you know? It feels oddly liberating.

May 2010 start out as well as it'll end!

Cheers,
Victoria

Palladian said...

Look back.

...in anger.

vbspurs said...

it turned out to be the most pleasurable section of my life (so far).

My mother agrees with you, and her enthusiasm for her 50s makes me feel good about those age-defying 50s and 60s of our lives.

She says she never looked better than in her 40s and 50s.

vbspurs said...

Richard Dolan:

The upside is that it helps one focus on what matters, making it easier to shed what doesn't.

For some reason, I dealt with a lot of disease, decay and death by acquaintances this year. I'm talking about the day-to-day people you know, not dear friends. A really nice lady teller at my local bank had cancer, and after putting up a struggle, died from one day to the next. One of my porters got run over by a car. A friend of mine spent most of 2009 in the hospital. That kind of thing.

So I had death reminding me of my mortality all this year. I came to the conclusion, and this may seem overblown for someone relatively young, that if I were to die tomorrow, I would die as happy and fulfilled as I could without having given birth to my progeny.

But having mentioned death, the more I live, the more I adore life. I cannot understand those who want to off themselves just because they're sad (I understand if they're sick). LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, this world is AMAZING.

What a wonderful thing it is to exist. Thank God, thank you.

Cheers,
Victoria

Rialby said...

Prediction: The 00s will be remembered as ending in 2012 because that will be the last full year that Obama - a product of the backlash against Bush who defined the 00s - spends in office.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ten years ago, I was a very far left liberal. Probably more of a communist. And an atheist. And wanted to work for the government. (!!!)

Heh.

Have hope for changing minds.

Almost Ali said...

But what do you tell the kids going forward?

For one, if I knew then what I know now, I would have moved to Alaska, or the outback of Australia. Or signed up as a guinea-pig for the space program. Or better, taken my old bones to the nearest recruiting center.

Or changed my name to Almost Ali - wait, I did that. After all, we humans are amazingly adaptable; bible, Koran, what's the difference.

My grandson was starting school ten years ago, today he's an Obama-loving liberal. It's not MY fault, he lives in a gated community.

Besides, what did "I" know when I was his age; his grandmother - stunning, beautiful, blinding, and a Delilah. Until we were put upon by barbarians, when she threw away her scissors. That's what I tell grandson, better to man up now then later. Not easy though, not when he's surrounded by his own Delilahs sexting poetry, and pictures.

Which reminds me, where was Facebook ten years ago? Or Blackberry? Even Google. And... taxes.

And what about the bookends; 9/11 vs. Christmas day, 2009. Things grandpas can't wish away.

edutcher said...

Similar to Pogo, I had to give a eulogy, at my mother-in-law's funeral, very much off the cuff. Considering her sons were afraid to (only The Blonde and one of her nephews got up - and then she nudged me), I felt a little better after I stopped babbling (I thought) when the minister gave me a nod and a, "Yes".

While I can empathize with Pogo not liking to give them, sometimes the right sendoff can help put a life in perspective. Mom deserved somebody noting that she lives on in the values she imparted and the example she set.

Would that we all have the same said of us.

vbspurs said...

Oy vey, this reminds me of the guest host on the Rush show today. He started off the hour by going into detail why 2010 is not a new decade.

Guys, we know. Stop being pedantic, please. It's tedious. Human beings register "newness" in a curious way, and there's nothing more new than seeing a number go from 09 to 10. It FEELS like a new start, regardless if there was no Year 0.


Vic, the only people I know who count starting at zero are programmers (since I'm a programmer, I know plenty). Everybody else, etc.

Happy New Year, mum. I've learned to like the cut of your jib.

Ann Althouse said...

I went from being in my 40s to being in my 50s in this decade, and though I was afraid to go into the 50s -- it seemed like falling off a cliff into irrelevancy -- it turned out to be the most pleasurable section of my life (so far). I don't love being closer to death, but I do love being old (while still healthy). It's much easier living in the present when you don't have to think so much about the future.

I don't love being closer to death, ...

Oh, good Lord, what a thing to say. Every second we live takes us closer to Eternity. You have shown a lot of people how to face maturity (you are certainly not old) with delight and to see it a new and wonderful chapter - The Blonde did the same for me.

... but I do love being old

The perspective of years has a great deal to recommend it. The Blonde's two favorite nephews have started saying things along the lines of, "Things really were better when you were our age, weren't they?". To be able to point them toward some of the finer things in life (not always recognizable these days) and to help them sidestep some of the pitfalls has rewards all its own.

The best of the New Year to the house of Meadhouse.

William said...

This is the decade I moved from the fifties to the sixties. "You love that best which thou must leave ere long." Some days life is almost indescribably pleasant. And it doesn't take a lot. A bit of sun, conversation after a good meal, sex with the Olson twins--just these small, transient pleasures are enough to delight my day....Mortality is to senescence as sex is to adolesence. Just try to go one day without thinking about it. Its presence is pervasive and inescapable. Several friends and relatives have recently died. Their deaths were unlucky, but not the stuff of tragedy. They had gotten a fair chance to work out their destiny, and the only unwritten chapters were those of old age. Still, for an agnostic such as myself, there is no upside to death. And you can't help wondering how soon it will be your turn and what was the point of the long, weary trip.

Penny said...

"Look back. Reminisce."

From the time I was a young girl, I always believed that even if you left this world, you would always live on as long as there was ONE person thinking about you.

I'm thinking about you, with love and gratefulness in my heart.

Jimmy James said...

Althosue says: It's much easier living in the present when you don't have to think so much about the future.


No kidding. It's even easier when you don't actually publish or carry your own weight at the law school!

Penny said...

"No kidding. It's even easier when you don't actually publish or carry your own weight at the law school!"

Oh come on, Jimmy. Althouse "publishes" this blog with all its commentary. And given the numbers of us that are always trying to lose a few pounds, I'd say she is, and we are, more than aware about carrying our own weight.

Now, about that "at the law school". Aren't they already overcrowded? And talk about your places that should DEFINITELY lose some weight.

former law student said...

Pogo -- make more Catholic friends; eulogies at Catholic funerals are still very much atypical, although the priest can mention the life of the deceased in his sermon.

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