Friday, January 1, 2010

Twenty Ten

Goodbye 2009. Hello 2010! There are going to be so many changes for 2010. New trends will be starting, and old habits will have to die hard. For the last decade we have certainly taken a lot of things for granted, but now it is time for our rude awakening.

The most annoying change that I foresee is the confusion and subsequent frustration with writing the date. For practically the last two generations there was little confusion in the way dates were written, even given that Americans write dates counter intuitively using a month/day/year convention. You might as well say the time is 52:11. It clearly makes more logical sense to write the date as day/month/year, in logical time duration order, as it is done in Europe. But for a country that still uses avoirdupois weight units it is not surprising. But beyond that anomaly, the problem will arise with confusion of the year 2010 as “10” and the tenth day of the month as “10”. Thus, “1/10” may mean January 10th or January 2010. We did not have this problem in 2009, since the convention is to write January 9th as “1/9”, and January 2009 as “1/09”. Does that mean I will have to write “1/2010”? How very annoying.

People will also be setting New Year’s resolutions. Most of them will involve weight loss. It’s never a good commentary on society when that many Americans are trying to lose weight. But it could be worse—the most common resolution could be to try and be nicer to others. What would that tell you about America?

Me, I don’t think I’ll set any new year’s resolutions. It is not that I have no resolutions to make, just that I really do not see the point in New Year’s resolutions. If you have such a problem that is adversely affecting your life, you should make changes when you discover the problem, not weeks or months later because it is time to buy a new kitten calendar. Take obesity. If you know you are overweight, and you know it is not how you want to be, you should begin to work on your weight the moment you have that epiphany. If that occurs in May, why would you wait seven months to make that change? You would only be unhappy for an additional seven months with nothing gained. Or if you come to the conclusion that you need to save more money, why wait to start saving? Given the power of compound interest, your money would grow far more the earlier you started.

And most resolutions are broken or forgotten before the first spring thaw. It is not difficult to see why, considering that there is little to no significance to the start date for the resolution. People are far more likely to successfully quit smoking after a tobacco related health scare than after a new year’s resolution. It’s obvious to see why—there is no personal connection to January 1st for most people. You might as well throw a dart on a calendar.

One change that I am curious to see is the change in New Year’s glasses. Thus far, we have enjoyed double zero years, making New Year’s glasses easy to conceptualize—one zero for each eye. When 2011 comes around, though, I will bet there will be a change to headbands or necklaces. Or at best monocles. Otherwise you end up with a square made of two 1’s for one eye and that just does not look right.

So goodbye 2009! Or more accurately, goodbye fiscal year 2009! Perhaps one day we will throw New School Year’s parties as well.