The way we see it: Out of time

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The way we see it: Out of time

"If we had a dime for every decade that has passed since our planet came into being, and stacked them on top of each other, we’d have 380 miles of dimes in the sky, which would cover the distance between the surface and the International Space Station plus almost five-hundred Empire State Buildings. And the 2010s would be just one of those dimes."

Photo by Jack Wanninger

"If we had a dime for every decade that has passed since our planet came into being, and stacked them on top of each other, we’d have 380 miles of dimes in the sky, which would cover the distance between the surface and the International Space Station plus almost five-hundred Empire State Buildings. And the 2010s would be just one of those dimes."

Photo by Jack Wanninger

Photo by Jack Wanninger

"If we had a dime for every decade that has passed since our planet came into being, and stacked them on top of each other, we’d have 380 miles of dimes in the sky, which would cover the distance between the surface and the International Space Station plus almost five-hundred Empire State Buildings. And the 2010s would be just one of those dimes."

Mill Stream Staff

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It’s that time again. The second decade of the twenty-first century is coming to a close. When the clock strikes twelve on the last day of the last month of the last year of this decade, it will be the end of the era. Or will it?

After all, this planet has been around for a hot minute. We’ve had plenty of decades. Just under half a billion of them. It’s almost impossible to imagine what half a billion of anything would be like. If we had a dime for every decade that has passed since our planet came into being, and stacked them on top of each other, we’d have 380 miles of dimes in the sky, which would cover the distance between the surface and the International Space Station plus almost five-hundred Empire State Buildings. And the 2010s would be just one of those dimes.

We could deal with this information in two different ways. We could look at this decade, knowing that it’s just another dime in the stack and it’s nothing unique. Time is always passing, and why is our decade so special? We’ve had half a billion of them and we’ll have half a billion more.

We could also assign some sort of meaning to our dime because it’s our dime. For our generation, the 2010s are the only decade we’ve fully lived through so far. It’s our decade. We experienced the culture, listened to the music, watched the movies, read the tweets and all of the news (see page 10 for a timeline). It’s been our childhood and our coming of age. We loved, we lost, and we grew up to become the people we are today.

The end of the decade also serves as a checkpoint for our lives. Take a look at how much you have changed since 2010. You may still be interested in the same sports or songs or shows that you were interested way back then. You may not even recognize that person. Even if these last ten years have been somewhat lousy for you, you can rest assured that there’s a new decade ahead that has the potential to be unlousy.

The title track of George Harrison’s first solo album All Things Must Pass begins with these wise words: “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning; a cloudburst doesn’t last all day.” The 2010s was the decade of our generation’s sunrise (and there were moments of cloudburst), but that time is coming to an end. We’re big kids now. And we’re helpless but to resign to the flow of time.

As time goes on, humans are living longer lives, so we’ll have plenty more decades to live through and judge accordingly. So don’t fret it. Don’t regret it. Just live it. And if you live long enough, you’ll have enough dimes to buy some chocolate. That’d be nice.