These days you hear and read a lot about this new year’s being the start of a new decade. And it does feel like that, doesn’t it?
We tend to see decades as entities in themselves: ‘the sixties’, ‘the nineties’, and, starting tonight, ‘the twenties’. And we associate them likewise with things as music or clothing or our own birth or upbringing.
It’s funny in a way… It’s not like a brand new world is emerging tonight at 00:00 hours. Not that much will have changed when the sun rises in the morning. It’s just another day. But somehow it feels like a marker point, the start of a new period.
I guess we owe this to our tendency to box and label things, including years and decades. We humans are a strange breed. I don’t think any other kind of animal is thinking by themselves: “Hey, the new decade is about to start!”
Whether the new decade really starts tonight is debatable anyway. Considering that a decade starts with year one and ends with year ten, the new decade is actually to start on January 1, 2021. But who cares? Any period of ten years can be called a decade and we marked January 1, 2000 as the start of this millennium, so if we decide that with the year 2020 we are entering a new decade, we are.
(By the way, I think Swedish band ABBA is partly to blame for the confusion. Their widely known song ‘Happy new year’ says: “It’s the end of a decade, in another ten years time, who can say what we’ll find, what lies waiting down the line, in the end of eighty-nine”. They sang this in 1980, so if the end of 1980 marked “the end of a decade”, and one counts “another ten years time”, the end of the next decade can’t be “the end of eighty-nine”… So which is it?)
The end of the year is always a moment for me to look back. To reflect on what I have done and experienced in the past year. The things I enjoyed, the things I struggled with. The things I intended to do but didn’t and the things I wasn’t expecting but happened anyway. The things I am thankful for and the things I’d rather deny…
It’s also a moment to look ahead. Because like the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Whether it’s a new decade or not, one thing is for sure: Tomorrow is a new day, with new opportunities.
So happy new year everyone, I wish you a joyous, healthy, loving and inspiring 2020!