Looking Back Looking Forward

2009 is over in just a few short days and with it, an as yet unnamed decade. Seriously, did we ever decide on a name? I've lived now through a portion of the ‘70s, all of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and....the ‘00s? How do we even pronounce that? “Oh-oh's”? Considering some of the things that have happened in the past ten years, that might be appropriate. Me, I'm already wondering what we call this next decade. The teens? And what comes next? The ‘20s? How do we differentiate those from the 1920s? Wait, those were Roaring.

It seems like each decade I live through goes faster than the previous one. I thought this whole new millennium thing just started. I began a new job on the very first working day of the year 2000, and a new chapter in my life. Gone was the educational but crappy job I spent four years of my life at after graduating college. Gone also was my girlfriend, and I probably spent far too many years getting over her. I've had my share of unrequited crushes, botched or misguided attempts to win hearts, and the rare date or two in the years since, but nothing resembling that relationship. Of course, since that went down in flames, I really shouldn't compare or make that my goal. Something better and more permanent is in my future; I just don't know when. Resolving to change my luck each year was too ambitious, but to achieve happiness in this next decade? I think I'm up to that challenge....

Ten years flew by, and while it seems like everything is the same, more things changed than I probably realized. I didn't have a blog ten years ago. I did have a birth defect that nearly killed me at the end of the year 2000. I'd never served jury duty; by the end of 2001 I'd spend a month on a grand jury, during which time I also had all four wisdom teeth removed. So there's definitely a lot less pieces in me now. I joined a gym, and gradually and surprisingly became a runner. Then I lost my job in 2007, with it the company gym membership, and spent a year getting fat again before joining a new gym. In 2009, I pushed myself to train for a race, and kept running after achieving my goal. I managed to shed 25 pounds, and despite the occasional fluctuation during high snacking periods, I haven't gone up more than 5-10 pounds before losing it again. Let's hope I can keep that up in the next decade.

2009 was a year of record celebrity deaths, so many so that any attempt on my part to list them would not only be morbid, but I'd almost certainly forget someone important. And while all people are important, not just the famous ones, family and friends are the most important ones of all. At the beginning of 2009 I was sure we were going to lose my dad. He was sure he was gone, too. He's feeling his age, but he still made a great comeback, and God willing he's going to see his 80th birthday in 2010. Maybe he can't walk as fast, lift as much, hear as well or raise his arms above his head, but he still has his full mental capacity, unlike my mom's brother, who drove his car to Staten Island in a state of confusion in the Spring, nearly set fire to his apartment in the Summer, and settled into a nursing home by Autumn. It's been a period of adjustment which I noticed both in holidays and in helping clean out his apartment; my car's trunk still houses many of his old paintings. It's been really hard on my mom and her other brother, who alternate days visiting and dealing with the situation, and my dad who goes along for the ride and has some sisters with health problems of their own.

I think I've done a lot of things in the last 10 years that I never, ever pictured myself doing, both good and bad. I've definitely socialized more and expanded my old tight college circle of friends with new ones at the two companies I've worked for in the past decade. I've been to a few more happy hours, but knowing my uncle's alcoholic past and wondering if it contributed to his current state, I keep track and pace myself. Knowing I have to drive home at the end of the night is enough to limit my drinking, although a situation like my Atlantic City visit in which I was staying overnight removed that limitation, and allowed me to go a little crazy. I think it's okay to loosen up, go wild, and blow off some steam once in a while, provided I don't go too far. I understand the phenomenon of the quiet, reserved guy holding back flying to the other extreme when let loose. Dancing like a fool is something I've done four or five times in the “Oh-oh”s, but damn has each time been fun in the moment.

I wasn't taking pictures as frequently or even using a digital camera 10 years ago. There was no such thing as a Photo Blog Wednesday. There were probably phases during which there was no such thing as leaving my room unless I was going to work or a band gig. I've explored Long Island and the city, and even ventured further for conventions, races, paintball, or a Philly Cheese Steak. I've seen movies continue to amaze and raise the bar for my demographic, including X-Men, The Lord of the Rings, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredibles, District 9, Transformers, Star Trek, and even a feature-length Simpsons Movie. We had our share of disappointments too, proving costumes and special effects are meaningless without good stories, scripts, and direction. Still, this was a great decade to be a geek when you consider how many properties were brought to life and treated maturely and with respect. I never thought I'd see half the things I've seen. I'm excited for what's coming next and where we go from here.

Where do we go from here? The unknown is exciting and scary. I can think of some great things that might happen in the next 10 years, and I can think of some sad things that probably will happen as well. I can only look too far ahead before it gets overwhelming. We should all take things one day at a time. We shouldn't be afraid of the occasional risk, or occasional new experience. I saw Metallica for the first time at the beginning of 2009 and liked it so much that I saw them again before the end of the year. It was just another chance for me to let out the me I usually keep locked in my brain. And I think that may be my greatest wish for 2010 and beyond, after health and happiness for my family, friends, and pets. I want to be the me that I have the potential to be, confident and unencumbered by doubts and fears. I like that guy. I've met him a few times, but I've only caught glimpses of him in the last 10 years. I sense he's close to the surface again though, and that means that anything is possible. We can't eliminate our fear, but we can press on in spite of it. We should press on, in spite of it. But don't take my word for it. I'll let yet another cinematic icon who made a surprisingly good return in the ‘00s speak for me:


Blogger Lorna said...

thoughtful and endearing,gniraedne dna lufthguoht.

12/29/2009 11:23 AM  

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