A new decade rising
In a few days, we will be bidding adieu not just to a year but also to a decade. Surely, that is nothing short of remarkable. We are amazingly on the brink of what will become our own take on the ’20s. That is just as harrowing as it is exciting. What on earth are we headed into next?
But as much as it is tempting to wonder what will soon come about, it is just as inevitable to look back at what has transpired.
Who were we a decade ago? Where were we and what were our dreams? What kind of lives did we live? And how have our lives changed in the last 10 years?
When 2010 rolled in, I was 17. Little did I know that my coming of age would take place in what would become a most tumultuous decade.
The 2010s changed our perception of living and how we projected it. In 2010, Instagram was launched and its first couple of users took random photos with the app’s built-in filters. Today, with billions of users, Instagram has changed our life experiences. It has altered our self-perceptions, too, making an entire generation self-conscious and anxious to a fault, but also creative and adventurous.
The 2010s challenged authority. It quickly became a momentous decade for protests. We may cite Mohamed Bouazizi as a pivotal beginning. The man who lit himself on fire in December 2010 triggered what would become the fierce Arab Spring. The next couple of years were disrupted by Occupy Wall Street, the #MeToo movements and Black Lives Matter, among many other campaigns. It was a decade of challenging the status quo and highlighting people power, toppling dynasties and exposing cruelties.
The 2010s transformed the way we entertain ourselves. In 2011, Spotify was launched and in 2012, Netflix. Streaming soon became the new way we took in music, movies and TV. We are privileged to have access to tons of entertainment media at our own choosing and timing. The decade saw a massive plot twist to media consumption at a time when piracy had become a massive problem worldwide.
The 2010s reinvented how we love, or how we search for it at least. In 2012, Tinder was launched, and today it has around 50 million users. It has changed the dating game and the way we find love (well, some of us are still looking). The past decade also witnessed the legalization of same-sex marriages across 18 nations, demonstrating that all love is equal.
The 2010s manifested the rise of vitriolic, exclusivist sentiments across the globe. In June 2016, the United Kingdom narrowly voted to leave the European Union, and “Brexit” entered the lexicon. Brexit was but one of many similar polarizing developments in democratic nations that would see themselves shaken by populism and nationalism. The vitriol spilled online, such that Facebook was soon accused as a platform for political manipulation and fake news dissemination.
The millennials, now in their early 20s or late 30s at the turn of the new decade, are the poster children of this decade.
I entered the decade not knowing I would form part of such a massively definitive generational cohort. But here we are, with a branding we didn’t have in 2010. We made good use of it, though. Our social, economic and cultural dynamics and activism will lead the way into the 2020s. The 2010s, more than any other decade, was the decade of the young.
What a strange thing to say. “The ’20s” always brings about images of flappers, jazz music, bootleggers and Gatsbyesque exuberance. It was the roaring ’20s — but the prosperity and excesses would soon lead to the Great Depression of the 1930s. From that history, we can hopefully learn our lesson.
A century later, the world will see the ’20s again. We are now about to create a version of our own.
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