Forty years ago tonight, I was sitting up with my mom watching New Year’s celebrations on TV. I’m not sure what I was doing up, being such a young tyke, but I remember asking what was going on as the ball was dropping and people were loudly counting down. “They’re getting ready for it to be 1980,” she said. “But I don’t want it to be 1980!” I replied. I’m not sure what the calendrical difference could have possibly meant to me at that point in my life, but it seems clear that the innate conservative insight had already blossomed in me: change is to be dreaded.
I’ve seen a lot of people playing a “beginning of the decade/end of the decade” game on social media this week. For me, on December 31st, 2009, I remember discovering a treasure trove of various electronic music artists to use my iTunes gift cards on, just listening to one great algorithmic recommendation after another. It was a welcome bright spot right at the end of a difficult year, especially with having lost two dogs to cancer just weeks earlier. It was an especially snowy winter; we had gotten over two feet of snow a week before Christmas, and we would get two feet more over the next couple months, which made my driving job extremely hazardous and nerve-wracking. All that music I downloaded around New Year’s made it a bit more bearable.
Little did I know, as I sat there sampling songs, that within two weeks, I would meet the Lady of the House. All right, I suppose not all change is terrible. And sometimes, in a limited context, progress is even possible. Happy New Year.