One-tenth of a century. Ten years. 3653 days (that includes leap year days). 87600 hours. 5256000 minutes. 315360000 seconds. And, uh, never mind how many nanoseconds (it’s 3.1536 x 1017, in case you were wondering). So what happened during these 3.1536 x 1026 attoseconds?
2000: Y2K scare; George W. Bush wins controversial election over Al Gore; Sydney Olympics
2001: terrorists strike World Trade towers and Pentagon and attempt an attack on the White House; US goes to war in Afghanistan
2002: financial market faces partial meltdown; Firefox browser introduced; Washington DC sniper attacks; Moscow theatre siege; Salt Lake City Olympics
2003: United States invades Iraq; space shuttle Columbia disintegrates upon reentry, all astronauts aboard are killed; iTunes launched; Spirit, the first of two Mars rovers, is launched; SARS pandemic
2004: terrorists attack trains in Madrid; Indian Ocean tsunami; Athens Olympics; mad cow disease crisis
2005: Pope John Paul II dies, Pope Benedict XVI elected; Hurricane Katrina devastates the southeastern United States
2006: Saddam Hussein executed; Pluto loses status as a planet; Torino Olympics
2007: Benazir Bhutto assassinated; I-35 bridge collapses in Minnesota
2008: US financial recession begins; Beijing Olympics; terrorist bombings in Mumbai
2009: swine flu (H1N1) pandemic; Chesley Sullenberger lands passenger jet on Hudson river, no casualties; water discovered on Mars; Barack Obama elected president in landmark election over John McCain; Iran holds election, sparks massive riots
So what does this all mean? A lot has happened, a lot hasn’t happened. America elected its first African-American president; there were genocides in Sudan and eastern Europe. Water was discovered on Mars; there were droughts throughout the world. A pilot saves many by landing an airliner on a river; terrorists kill thousands by hijacking planes.
We’ve certainly progressed, but how far? Certainly not far enough. I doubt we will ever progress “enough”. There will always be suffering, pain, disaster, and death in this world. Time Magazine even dubbed this decade “The Decade from Hell”. What can we do but hope?
Only God knows what the next decade will hold.
Cheers, to the new decade: a chance for hope, for change, for renewal, for new beginnings. Before we know it, this decade will wear on, and the next, and the next, and so on. But whatever you do, do not let the next 3.1536 x 1032 yoctoseconds pass by in vain. Carpe diem.