Looking Back, 2000 – 2009

Keith looks back at the last 10 years: 2000 – 2009, the first decade of the 21st century.

Well, 2009 is just about over now, so I guess the fashionable thing to do is look back at everything that happened this year. Or, better yet, everything that happened over the last 10 years.

Actually, now that I’ve written that, it sounds kind of amazing. 10 years. 10 YEARS. Wow. The first decade of the 21st century is over. (Well, sort of… the whole “2001 was the first year of the new millennium, not 2000” thing, but whatever.) We’re now moving into the 2nd decade of living IN THE FUTURE.

So, what do we have to show for it?

To start with, we survived the roll over into Y2K without any disasters, so that’s a good start.

But then some not-so-good things happened:

  • What is arguably the defining event of this decade: September 11, 2001, when a bunch of crazy people crashed some planes into some skyscrapers.
  • 8 years of George Bush.
  • War.
  • Bombings.
  • The space shuttle Columbia disaster.
  • Rapid erosion of civil liberties around the world.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (to me, “Homeland” sounds too much like “Fatherland” and I don’t like the connotations that go with that word).
  • Massive problems with electronic voting machines & potential fraud (which may or may not have already happened, who knows for sure)
  • More SPAM than ever before (to the point where some people have given up completely on email)
  • Bird Flu
  • Swine Flu
  • Massive abuse of draconian & unbalanced copyright laws by copyright holders
  • Massive Tsunamis
  • Shrinking polar ice cap
  • Melting glaciers
  • Censorship

But there were good things, too!

  • The first new jumbo jet in almost 40 years, the Airbus A380.
  • Netbooks! (I love my netbook!)
  • The first non-white president of the United States (way to go!)
  • Firefox explodes with awesomeness (and forces Microsoft to finally update their browser as well)
  • Space probes arrive at SATURN, the most beautiful planet (after Earth, IMHO)
  • Pluckly little robot rovers last way, way longer than they were ever meant to way over on Mars
  • The iPhone arrives, changing smartphones (and, arguably, the notion of portable computing itself) forever
  • Wikipedia continues to become more and more awesome
  • The Internet continues to defy attempts to block/censor it (mostly) and remains a powerful force for connecting people, exposing corruption, and spreading news
  • No more planes have been blown up or crashed into buildings by crazy people (no thanks to the TSA or 3 oz. bottles of liquid or taking off our shoes, I might add)

In many ways, I’m sort of disappointed in the last decade. It seems like we were off to a good start, but then we got sidetracked very early on, and things just went all wonky as everyone panicked and all sorts of stupid, reactionary stuff happened.

However, now that the decade is over, perhaps we can put all these bad things behind us, and start moving towards the future in earnest again, instead of taking steps backwards into the past.

Normally, I’d end this post with something like “Well, we can hope,” but really, that’s not all we can do. In fact, nothing will change unless we (that’s me and you, dear readers) get up and do something about it. So, if you need a resolution for the new year, how’s this for one: get out there and change the world, even if it’s just a little bit. There’s no time like the present, after all.

So, that’s it – Happy New Year everyone, and best wishes for a better 2nd decade of the 21st century! Now, get out there and make it happen!!

My Life, 2000 – 2009: What a Crazy Trip!

Looking back at the last 10 years in my life – what a journey! (And what a handy summary of my life, in case you don’t want to read the rest of my blog!)

I’m going to do 2 little retrospectives this year, but I’m going to start with a personal one first, so if this isn’t your cup of tea, just move on to the 2nd article (which is more about the world at large) and read that instead.

The last 10 years (10 years!?!) have been quite interesting for me, now that I really sit down and think about it. Of course, a lot has happened (which I’ve written about in more detail elsewhere in my blog), so I won’t go into details here – but I will summarize, because summarizing and making “top X” lists is what the New Year is all about!

  • I leave college after 4 years and start my own company (though not by myself).
  • I got my first apartment in Fitchburg and lived officially “on my own” for the first time (the time I spent at college – even when I lived there over the summer – only half counts).
  • Amanda, my long-distance girlfriend from Australia, packs her backs and moves to America to live with me!
  • Amanda and I get married! Who-hoo!
  • After a lot of prodding, I finally go back and finish the 2 classes I needed to graduate from college!
  • Through a very bizzare series of events, I end up with 2 pet rabbits!
  • I buy a new car (my beloved Mitsubishi Outlander) and end up getting screwed by a corrupt car dealership.
  • I travel back and forth to Australia more than a few times, and see some really neat stuff while I’m there!
  • I learn to cook more than just the meat & potato casseroles I used to eat in college.
  • I move to New Jersey! (And I get to work from home!)
  • I’ve gotten better at acting “grown-up” (though it’s still an act, because I’m still a kid at heart)

And that just about brings us up-to-date with the crazy journey that has been my life thus far. It’s been a wild ride, to be sure – there were ups, and there were definitely downs as well. But lately there seem to be more ups than downs, which is good, because now that I’m in my 30’s I’m getting too old for the drama of youth. But life is good these days, and fate has been relatively good to me lately, so I have no complaints. And of course I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of crazy adventures as well!

I’m sorry if this post has sounded a little sappy, or even self-serving in some ways. However, around this time of year I always like to look back fondly, rather than look back and see all the negatives. I know they happened (I can never forget them), but I’ve moved past them. I prefer to face the new year optimistically – that’s just the way I am.

So, if you’re looking back at your own life, hopefully you’ll look more at the positive things rather than the negative things, and see the possibilities of a brighter future ahead. I know I am!

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2010!