Apparently we are going to turn the lights out on a decade tonight. As you may know I personally find September to serve as a more appropriate annual turn-over point, but everybody loves the neatness of numbers and lists, so at the end of 2009, at the end of a decade we’ll do a quick reflection – certainly not conclusive or complete.
A few nights ago it was posed to a group I was with: what single world event had the most impact on my personal life in the past decade? It remains 9/11. Foremost was the emotional impact that reverberated through the world; a host of different emotions filled the world, and no sentient person could have avoided being impacted in some way. Then the repercussions for many personal lives that were not actually directly involved in the event. Every time I, or anyone else I know travels, their experiences have been altered by that event. A nouveau lexicon that everyone uses emerged in both political and popular culture as a result. Canada has made the choice in this decade to spend billions of dollars in Afghanistan. This post is not to make a decision on the rights or wrongs of that decision, just to recognize that those billions in turn effected domestic decisions that in turn effected every Canadian’s personal life, including mine. Much more importantly, with four new deaths today, and one journalist also being killed, on the very last day of this decade, 138 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan in the 2000’s, thus bringing back a more personal nature of veterans and Remembrance Day. All of these factors, and many more came as a result of 9/11.
Time magazine recently called this first decade of the 21st Century to be a complete downer in comparison to the last of the 20th. While there were certainly a host of world events, and many notable U.S. events that led them to make that call, I don’t share the same pessimistic view overall. Although there is credence for some sober reflection when climate change, war, poverty, disease, and the economy is considered, I look back and see a lot of positive events in the past decade, and look forward with hope, as does the same article.
There are some great organizations doing some amazing things to fight what I believe to be one of our most important global battles: overcoming poverty. Kiva, Oxfam, Make Poverty History, and so many more have really grown in this past decade. I believe that most of us have become more worldly, and environmentally aware in the last 10 years and that is a good thing. The advances we have made in health care, and the support and awareness for causes like AIDS, prostate cancer and breast cancer have grown in leaps and bounds. The progression in Education, particularly educational tools and technology has been incredible. The list of positive highlights and changes could go on depending on your penchant for popular culture, sports, politics, literature, music, or any area.
While each of us personally dealt with sadness and there were those who left us in the past decade, it was also one filled with births, and with partners confirming their love. I smile when I think of some personal events of the preceding ten years, and many of them are just simple, yet joyful events, spent with family and friends that I care about. I hope that you can look back and smile as well.
In the next ten years we’re going to face some challenges, some of which are unpredictable at this point. While we’ve made progress in the areas I mentioned above, there is still a long, long way to go in each of these and with many other causes. Whether they be global, local, or personal, please remember that you are not in this alone so long as you strengthen the ties of your relationships. We’ll have hope and joy in the next 10 years if we work on our peace and love. I know that those four words seem airy fairy to some of you, but maybe you just haven’t thought deeply about what those words actually mean, for they are not just words, there are meanings, signs, and tools within each of them. It is up to you and those closest to you to get into those meanings, signs and tools for yourself though. Be open to those around you when they need you, and be ready to turn for help when you need it.
Finally, I think back on the past decade and I am bombarded with images and amazing deeds of the awesome people I call family and friends. I must be the most fortunate person alive to know so many incredible people that have done so many incredible things in the past 10 years – personal and worldly – in the areas of family, community-building, social-work, health-care, education, journalism, literature, writing, photography, music, film, politics, sport, travel, and charity. The list could go on, for I am actually beyond fortunate to know amazing people in so many areas, and that they make the choice to include me in their incredible lives. It actually makes my head hurt just a little bit to think about what so many of you have accomplished. 😉 Keep it going!
We’ll let the Kings of Leon, and then David Gray take us out then. With KoL we recognize how uber successful one can become, even in a relatively short period of time, and it’s a bit of a tune about sticking together. Then with Gray we have a tune that might seem like a downer, but it’s actually about hope and going forwards. It’s also one of my all time fav’s.
“Through the windows of midnight, all moanfoam and silver.”
Take care, take care of each other…. Bonne Année!!