New Year’s Eve 1999. Do you remember where you were? I don’t recall exactly…but it’s not that important, I was probably with one of the many no good boyfriends I accumulated over the years. Today I was driving around and I happened to catch a piece on NPR about the past decade and also about New Year’s resolutions. I had to turn it off after awhile because it not only depressed me but it made me really angry. I started to think about the past 10 years and how much has changed in my life and in the lives of people everywhere.
This decade gave way to new vocabulary, words like “unfriend”, “fan-fiction” (a personal favorite), “frenemy”, “staycation”, “carbon footprint”, the list goes on. The other day, my husband used the phrase “flash mob” and I’m such a dumbass I had to look it up. Go ahead. I am hoping there are a few of you who will run over to Google it right now. We also added some words I’d like to NOT mention, but can’t avoid: “war on terror”, “earmark”, “waterboarding”, and, of course, “post 9/11”. The last one makes me stop in my tracks and really think about how much has changed in the past decade – for me and for my family.
Ten years ago, I was 24. I thought I had the world by the balls. I was skinny and cute and could get by on some of that…and that caused me to think that my shit didn’t stink. A lot has changed since then. In the past decade I met my silly husband and had two beautiful children. I lost a few close friends and I met a few people who would become closer to me than some of my family. I gained a lot of weight and I lost most of it. I graduated from college. And then, for some insane reason, I decided to go back! I lost an amazing set of grandparents but I gained a niece, a nephew, and a set of in-laws that most people would be envious of. I have seen some of my best friends get married and divorced. I’ve seen my friends experience the ups and downs and the lack of sleep that motherhood brings. Early in the morning of September 11, 2001, I lost a smart, tall, handsome and funny cousin. That is the one day I would like to erase from the past decade.
And what did I take from all of that? Well, first, I would like to say “suck it” to those people making New Year’s resolutions. I mean, seriously. Do you really think you’re going to go to the gym after January 23rd? Really? Are you going to give up fast food? Come ON. I know, I’m both critical and cynical, both important qualities to have, I think, but I get super irritated when I hear people drone on about what they’re going to change this year. I might not look like I did on New Years Eve 1999, but I’m that same girl on the inside, and I like to think I’m a bit wiser. I put my sweet girls to bed tonight and it struck me that we only really have what is right in front of us at any given time. So much can be taken away in the blink of an eye – your children, your home, your sense of safety, your money…Bernie Madoff and the stock market taught us that lesson – and even if you have money, chances are you’re an insufferable asshole anyway, and you don’t count. All you can really change in 2010 is what is inside of you, and that isn’t the stuff of resolutions.