I’m going to just say it: in many ways, this was a crappy decade. G-dubs stole an election and somehow remained president for 8 whole years; 9/11 happened, followed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. trashed its reputation around the globe with arrogant, irresponsible, and occasionally criminal behavior; and the economy became tired and shagged out after a prolonged squawk. There was a lot of upset and sadness in my personal world, too. Both my parents died, as did my half-brother and my beloved cat. My partner of over 10 years broke up with me in a slow and messy way. I had a nervous breakdown that it took me almost two years to get over. And some of my closest friendships senselessly exploded in flames.
And yet… if there is one thing I have learned this decade, it’s that life is chock full of data of all kinds. At some point, you have to decide what you are going to focus on, because you just can’t comprehend it all. And savoring the positives is healthier emotionally than dwelling on the negatives. New-Age-y platitude? Yep, but also true.
Putting on the rose-tinted glasses, I see that the past ten years had some serious good in them, too. I got my driver’s license at age 31, ushering in a new era of mobility and independence. Several trips to Europe expanded my mind. I got a well-paying job with a non-profit company whose work I truly believe in. I had quality time with both my parents before they died. I bought a house that I love. The art of television truly matured and gave me some of my favorite shows ever: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Farscape, Firefly, Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, Fullmetal Alchemist, The Wire, and Mad Men. Social networking on Facebook and Twitter revolutionized my internet experience and reconnected me with many old friends. My ties to the world of feminist science fiction grew stronger, WisCon became my spiritual home, and I even got published. Connections with old and new friends and family delighted and supported me through hard times. And last but not least in this hardly-exhaustive list: Obama was elected president. That alone could restore one’s faith in a just universe.
As the new year and a new decade approach, I am feeling hopeful. Goodbye 2009, hello future!