Monday, December 14, 2009

The Decade From Hell

I recently came across this article from Time Magazine. It is entitled, "The '00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade from Hell." Favorable and forward thinking, right?

I thought the headline was a little harsh. Then I started the article and, well, it really has been a decade full of horrible news headlines.

This past decade, whose label I never quite know how to pronounce -- is it the oh-ohs? The zero-zeroes? The Ohs? I'm glad to be done with it just so we can move on to, what, the twenty-teens? That's right. I just coined that term. When it becomes the official name, remember that you heard it here first.

So, these oh-ohs have, according to the article, thoroughly sucked.

The article even goes so far to say, "The first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era."

Here are just some of the events it listed:

The 2000 Election debacle (hanging chads, anyone?)
No evidence of WMDs
Housing bubble
"Our recent near-death economic experience"
2 stock market crashes
Sarah Palin (okay, I added that one)
Anthrax letters
DC snipers
Enron scandal
Worldcom scandal
Hurricane Katrina
More mass shootings than any other decade
More school shootings than any other decade
More terrorist bombings
Doping scandals in sports
Sex scandals
Political scandals

And this article was written before we even heard about the humongous fall of Golf Great Tiger Woods.

Depressing, eh?

There have, of course, been good things, too. The article went on to say, "Sure, some amazingly great things happened this decade, from the stunning rise of China to Apple's dazzling array of new products to the feats of sprinter Usain Bolt to our nation rallying (at least temporarily) around its first African-American President. But all that seems more like counterpoint rather than the main act."

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about this past decade in terms of what it has meant on a less global and more personal level.

This past decade, the oh-ohs, has been the decade in which we've grown our family. Our beautiful daughter was born in 2000. It is a fun, big deal to have a baby born in 2000. We got a free pair of baby shoes from Payless and Thing 1 can also forever attend Harlem Globetrotter games for free. Not bad! Our beautiful son followed 2 years and 9 months later in 2003. Thing 2 didn't get free shoes or free Globetrotter passes, but we still think he's a fun, big deal just the same.

This past decade has also been the decade that saw us move from our first home (okay, so technically, the doublewide trailer was a car purchase sans settlement and complete with titles--one for each half) to our townhouse to our farmhouse. We feel very grateful be settled in a nice, small town in a beautiful home in which to raise our family.

The oh-ohs have seen me finish graduate school and Mark graduate from medical school. It has seen us move from west to east, from Phoenix, Arizona to beautiful small town, PA. It has seen us struggle with my debilitating depression while finishing med school and starting up residency. It has seen us deal with the highs and lows of attending residency. It has seen us wrestle with how to incorporate our education and training in a way that suits our family, our strong desire for lots of family time, and our belief in work-life balance. It has seen us walk away from traditional paths and take a giant leap of faith to start our own business, a clinic right in our own home where, together, we both get to do things we enjoy professionally and where we both get to work and help provide for our family and serve people in this area. It is ours, all ours.

The oh-ohs have seen us learn about and decide to homeschool, finding that we couldn't choose an educational option that better suits our family than this. It has seen us constantly tweak our approach and play with it so that it continues to meet our needs and desires in a fun, challenging, and wonderful way. It has seen us start a homeschool group that continues to grow and thrive and in which we've found some of our closest friends in the area.

The oh-ohs have been challenging and fun and wonderful and difficult and happy and sad. This past decade saw us deal with my Dad's battle with Parkinson's Disease, his declining health, and his death, something that has been really hard and also a major turning point in our lives. This past decade has seen us make very big and deep personal and family decisions, always striving to follow our hearts and be true to ourselves and live authentically.

This past decade saw us do some traveling. From Arizona, we traveled to California for a surprise Father's Day trip for my FIL, where we also got to visit San Francisco. We made trips to MA, mostly to visit my Dad in the hospital when he had his heart attack and back surgery, but also squeezing in some side trips to Boston and other neat places in New England. We arranged several trips to Utah so we could do medical school rotations and visit extended family members on both sides. We traveled to PA twice in order to check out residency programs and various towns and areas. We moved cross country and visited many states as we did so.

Since settling here, we have managed to visit many areas nearby, including Hershey, various places in New England, DC, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, the beach in Jersey, the beach in Delaware, and more. And we've also made some pretty big trips down to Florida for a wonderful vacation to Disney World and to visit extended family again. One of our biggest trips was a cross-country road trip to attend Mark's grandmother's family reunion. Though it was our 10th visit in 17 years to see Foleys, it was our first venture west since moving here and the first visit in the past 10 years where all Foleys have been together in one place. It was emotional for me -- less than two years after the last time my side of the family (me, my mom, my dad, my brother) would all be able to be together, it was a time of celebration for Mark's side of the family to be together. I felt grateful, but admittedly a little jealous and wanting, too. Road tripping on Father's Day, being together, remembering Mark's grandfather . . . it reminded me how raw my feelings still were and how much I missed my Dad.

So, this past decade has been full of ups and downs for us. It's been an emotional decade and it's formed much of where we are today--physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, intellectually. It's had very stressful aspects--no major life decisions come without some amount of stress--and very difficult ones and it has also had very joyous events to celebrate as well, most notably, our growing family and our settling down in a place to raise our beautiful family. Who knew it would be a farmhouse with a great yard, garden, and barn out back, a clinic that is our own out front, and a happy family of 4 and a dog inside? We are grateful and we are happy.

I guess I wouldn't call it the decade from hell. And I'm not one to hurry time along and always look ahead. I like to try to live in the moment. So, I'm enjoying what's left of the oh-ohs. And reflecting on what it has been for us.

How has your "oh-oh" decade been?


Dr. Mark said...

How have the 00s been? The Taoist in me wants to say the 00s have "just been." Everything that has happened in our lives has been an experience to be treasured, for better or for worse. I'm sure when we're toasting in the "twenty-teens" on New Year's Eve I'll be quite pleased with how the 00s turned out.

Lindsay said...

My 00s were a mixture of great AND very hard experiences! I was holding Ada this morning and thought to myself, "I would not change this for anything!" All of the struggles to get where I am today have been worth it (Not to say I am done having to struggle with things). I am at my parents house right now and found a box filled with pictures from the beginning of the 00s. They were pictures of a guy that I almost married AND looking at them, I was so glad that we did not get married. SO hard at the time to go through all of that, but I am stronger today because of it. I have traveled out of the country, moved cross country, have a new baby for cryin out loud :) Oh yeah!! And I turned 30!! Ha. OKay...I could go on and on...but I wont. I should just call you and tell you everything else. :) Sorry for making this longer than you probably anticipated.

the emily said...

Mine have been good. Really good. But I cannot just comment my 00's. This must be a blog post. Genius. Love it. Love the story of your '00s. Marriage, babies, first house purchase, first time getting fired from a many things.

Mom said...

Well said. Thanks for the memories. Just wait until you have adult children. Then besides your own ups & downs experiences, your heart has to survive that squeezed feeling with your kids' pains and that swell-to-bursting feeling with their joys. Great topic. Great conversation starter.

April (Thorup) Oaks said...

Wow. You are such a great writer. I constantly think I'll just skim through your post and I'm sucked in to read every word. What a neat post. Your family will treasure this one.

Jimmy said...

Great post! Got me thinking. Concluded that I've had 3 daughters born in the 00s and so that alone outweighs any thing negative I could say about the decade.

bythelbs said...

For me, this decade has been much less hellish than last decade, but I really wouldn't classify either one as "from hell". You know, because I'm such a positive person and all who doesn't like to dwell on the negative. **S-N-O-R-T**

Actually, I just prefer not to provoke the universe. If you say "It can't get any worse than that" then surely it can. And will.

See, totally positive person. Totally.

Jimmy said...

Oh, by the way, I disagree with you on one thing---Sarah Palin was among the best things that happened this decade. She (with the help of Tina Fey) sealed the deal for Obama. And I often wonder how Garth from Wayne's World feels every time he lay eyes on her.

Chelle said...

Well, I spent the first part of this decade getting to know you, so I'd say it got off to a good start! It's amazing what can happen in a decade. Lots of good mixed in with stuff we'd either like to take back or not remember. We, too have had all of our children in this decade and I never would have guessed that I'd have a dog before the decade closed. I can't wait to really spend some time reflecting on the past ten years.

Great post! Fun read! I'm glad to know that as this decade wraps up...we're still friends.

Boquinha said...

By the way, loved every one of these comments. Thanks!