I’m writing this on January 2nd which is apparently the sort of “second new years” day here in Greece (which is interesting because in many ways I associate January 2nd with the first day of work of the year, the first day that people go back to the gym or start writing their novel or whatever)
This has been my first new years abroad and It’s been great. But this year feels much different because its a new decade. My father used to say about round number birthdays or years “if we were all born with 9 fingers I guess we wouldn’t care” which is of course true, but I find myself thinking about the way in which we categorize history and especially modern history with these caricaturized versions of decades specifically. We all know how the handful of tropes and themes for every decade before the 2000s (and now I think we could even do the first decade of the 2000s pretty well). It’s the first time that I feel as though I’m seeing the passage of time on a grand scale. That I’m experience the passing of a previous world era into a new one.
People of my age (in their 20s) are starting now to enter an age where they are creating current culture from the ground up. We are entering into times where the cultural movements, art, brands, politics, problems, opinions that this decade is remembered for, will be generated by us. Ten years ago we were teenagers, and the next time the decade changes we will be in our thirties. We’re entering a time where our culture be begin to be hegemonic to some extent, and where youth culture will be developing in its own parallel way, completely separate from us.
In any case I’m actually really excited for all of this. It feels like the 20s is the first decade that is mine, that I will be part of shaping. And I can feel this energy building into the decade, that it will be one of expression, and of newness. A time of political and spiritual awareness. As people our parents’ age experienced the radical 70s I believe that our generation will experience the radical 20s.
Even the number feels futuristic to us all, unreal in a sense. the idea of “2023” is sort of a joke year, a placeholder for technofuture, a cheesy and made up landscape of neon cities, rather than a year, like any other. And as we bore further into this surreal sounding future age, we see that each passing year is like the last. Apocalyptic in some sense, serene in others, developing, changing the norms of our existence in some small way as it always has. Often time our outrage comes merely because we forget the way it was in the past, the historical cycle has n’t peaked in the same way for long enough that we forget about these old events that the present mimics. You can see this happening all around, even (and especially) when we remember the last cycle. One of the areas in which I see this happen most often is music (People who lived through early developing eras of jazz and rock dismiss modern music for the same reasons that their music was dismissed).