Once you hit the far side of age 50, the coming of a new year ranks as a solemn moment. And the dawn of a new decade? It makes you take stock.
After all, how many new decades are you likely to see once you’ve lived a half-century? Making it to 2050 means I’ll have lived to be 84.
At best, I’m likely to see four more “it’s a new decade” celebrations. Let’s hope none of those are accompanied by the feeling created by the final days of the 2010s.
I’d describe my state of mind and heart to you in great detail, except they frown on that sort of language in a family newspaper. It was something along the lines of goodbye and good riddance, except with saltier modifiers.
They don’t let me write the headlines for these columns, but if I could it would involve enormous block type and six words:
The Decade America Lost Its Mind.
Seriously, with the exception of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, can you think of a single thing better today than it was the day the calendar flipped from 2009 to 2010?
Politics? Ha. Entertainment? Haha. The workplace? The world of sports? Fashion? Pop culture? The Internet?
I don’t’ see it.
We even managed to screw up carbonated water in the 2010s. Back in the day, seltzer used to be something your grandma drank in a Gin Rickey while gramps was away in Korea.
Occasionally, you might order a vodka soda. Now sparkling water is everywhere, spiked with booze in White Claws and available in fancy flavors like LaCroix’s pamplemousse concoction.
Just what the decade needed: Yet another way to secret incredibly expensive urine.
Even fads were horrible in the 2010s. Remember people planking everywhere? Obsessing over Pokémon Go? Posting idiotic Facebook videos featuring the “Ice Bucket Challenge?” And what about fidget spinners?
Still, nothing atrocious about the 2010s compares to the inherent awfulness of social media, at least in my book.
For decades, Americans fretted about the loss of privacy to credit card companies, insurance conglomerates and telemarketers.
Then we spent a solid 10 years telling everyone everything about our personal lives – what we had for lunch, where we went on vacation and what we think about every political figure and news story to come down the pike.
As 2019 and the decade came to a close, I found myself missing the way we used to keep certain topics off-limits in American life.
Remember when we didn’t discuss politics in polite company? Or ask people how much they weigh or how much money the earn?
Now we don’t have to ask anyone about anything, because people voluntarily put it all out there. My New Year’s resolution going into what I hope will be the Roaring 2020s?
I want some mystery back in my life. So, for this year I’ve resolved to swear off personal social media, both posting and reading.
I’m hoping to leave obsessively checking Facebook and Twitter back in the 2010s, which is where we ought to leave many of the other nightmares we created for ourselves last decade.
Here’s to no more avocado toast. No more ripped jeans. No more Spiderman or Full House reboots. No more pumpkin spice. No more Zumba infomercials. No more Ugg boots on men. No more Real Housewives of anywhere.
No more endless chatter about “going gluten-free.” No more dabbing, Tebowing or twerking. No more Kardashians. No more Angry Birds or Candy Crush. And no more hipsters.
They say the past is prologue. Let’s hope the story of the decade ahead isn’t a reboot of the dreadful 10 years just past.