The End Of 2019: Looking Back On A Decade (Part 2)
The end of 2019 signifies the end of 2019 as well as a decade yet looking back feels more like scrolling through last week’s Instagram. It feels like 2016- a hard year for a lot of folks- had just ended. It feels like nothing but a blink of an eye has passed since 2009. Isn’t that weird? For me, I started this decade as a naive ten-year-old, and I’ll end this decade as a woman who maybe is coming into her own. Maybe not.
In writing this list, I’m not trying to say that any of these things individually defined the years of 2009 through 2019. I’m not trying to say that Taylor Swift’s rise to global pop stardom is in any way, shape, or form the one thing that says “this was the 2010s.” There were, and are, many things that many different cultures see as having a significant impact on them this decade. What I think made a significant impact could be just a tiny tap in the eyes of someone else. I’m not an expert. And I am by no means the megaphone here. This list is just my thoughts, my opinions. You’re more than welcome to share what you think made this decade everything.
With that being said, here’s part 2 of my list. As with last time, none of the items are in particular order.
This one is a given. Technology has had a heavy influence in not only this decade, but every decade since man discovered the possibility of wireless connections. And with these wireless connections came a greater understanding of the world around us as well as the people in it. Because of social media, the #MeToo movement, along with several others, like #neveragain and #ChurchToo, were able to grow, and its voices amplified. Because of social media, people like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby were taken down.
Technology also became a valuable learning tool in a lot of places. Teachers can now assign homework virtually, and students who may not have the best organizational skills can find it easily and do it quicker than they would had it been assignment via paper. Just as teachers can assign homework virtually, they can utilize programs such as Google Earth to enhance the learning experience. History teachers, for example, use Google Earth to map out regions of interest to their lesson.
Another aspect of all this, of course, is the social part of social media. In connecting the entire world with the touch of a button, humans discovered we could talk to anyone anywhere. Is the side conversation sometimes one-sided? Most definitely. Because there are plenty of people out there that view talking as synonymous with “arguing,” “insulting,” and “degrading.” And that’s the downside of it all: social media brings out the absolute best in us. But in shining a brighter light, it creates shadows- shadows where the dirtiest, most corrupt, most vile people live. These are people that will go on a Facebook rant because they saw a woman without a child at Disneyland, who will encourage people to “#cancel” a celebrity just because they said something in bad taste. These are people that parents and educators are making efforts to educate kids on. These are the people that make the words “responsible technology use,” not just a phrase but a way of life. Because there are monsters out there, and they have a megaphone- just like the heroes who will proudly smite them down.
I think this goes without saying, but memes are probably the best thing to happen to this decade and many others. And you’re probably wondering why. Well, it’s simple: we can’t all be serious. Amidst the chaos of living in the modern age, where there are expectations about expectations, it’s nice that we can just scroll through our feeds with a smile on our face. If this decade has taught us anything, it’s that we need to laugh. We need to block this “cancel culture” and instead focus on the most empowering thing one can do in the face of stress- laugh. Because this is a world where everyone is at everyone’s throats- but who says we have to take it seriously?
In my last post, I said I wouldn’t speak much about politics. And that’s right- I won’t. I don’t have the authority nor the experience to tell how to vote, who to vote for, or what to vote for. I’m not a politician, and I’m not a liberal snowflake celebrity who literally has the money to leave this country if they want to.
But I’ll say this: division does nothing. In this decade, our disagreements have led to demonstrations. And those demonstrations have turned violent. They have not garnered change. They have dragged this nation to a standstill. And that’s not a good thing. Because we can’t put aside our differences and try to find common ground, the state of our planet has worsened. Seventeen people died, and more continue to the result of gun violence. Hate has been given an even bigger megaphone because no one can be bothered to say, “I want to understand your viewpoint.” No one is asking you to agree with the opposite side- but name-calling, stereotyping, and pitting them against each other does nothing to progress this nation into a bright future. Our planet is warming because of us, and all anyone can argue about is whether or not any particular bill can be passed. It’s taking a Youtuber, a hashtag (#teamtrees), and a young girl just to get anyone to listen.
Going into the next decade, do the future a favor and listen. Try to understand why someone thinks the way they do, why they might stay with a group you find unfavorable, why they say what they say. I’m not asking you to be friends. I’m just asking you to listen.
Because eventually, it’ll be too late.