Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the decade?

In recent weeks the media have featured much about the end of the decade:
► The decade in politics;
► Best architecture of the decade;
► Worst fashions of the decade;
► Best films of the decade;
► The stock market's worst decade;
► The decade in music; and
► A condemnatory label, "Decade from Hell."
But is it in fact the end of the decade?
Maybe, maybe not.
Counting from midnight January 1, 2000, the answer's yes -- 11:59 tonight will end 10 years.
But here in the States, at least, we count birthdays beginning at the end of the 1st 12 months of life. Counting decades the same way, this one won't end till 11:59 p.m. next December 31.
We've been here before.
Not that long ago, the popular trend was to start the "new" millennium the 1st moment of 2000, even as the purists among us marked the "real" millennium a year later. Confusion's back: letters to the editor decrying the "misinformation" of the end-of-decade stories, even as others label such complainers "bozos."
In truth, "decade" simply means 10 years. The startpoint determines the endpoint. So it seems everyone's right. Or wrong.
Here's hoping your last 10 years (however you count them) were good, and your next 10 even better.

No comments: