I was one of those terrified of Y2K. I can't pinpoint my exact concerns of what would happen when the clock struck twelve, but as I was already a stressed out, overweight, overprotective mother of a two-year-old, it's fair to say I was projecting my existing fears onto the fate of the universe as a whole. But back in 1999, I had no idea that was the case. In 1999, I was just plain scared there wouldn't be a January 1, 2000. I probably could have gone out that night, but there was no way I could fathom being away from my child with such potential for doom outside the door. So home I stayed. Fortunately, I wasn't alone. My (now ex-) boyfriend was home that night, putting up with my manic apprehension, but so was Peter Jennings.
On December 31, 1999, ABC decided to air a live news marathon in honor of the millenium shift. For 24 hours they marked the new year all over the world. And Peter Jennings anchored the whole event. And I watched (and taped) it all. From about 5am my time the coverage began on a small island in the Pacific, and as each time zone turned to January 1, ABC showed the celebration a corresponding country.
My favorite was Paris. The Eiffel Tower itself turned into a fireworks display. To this day it remains one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Seriously, watch this:
As each hour passed without mass chaos, my fears were slightly alleviated. For me it's New Years when the ball drops in Times Square, not one hour later here in the Central Time Zone. When it actually did turn Midnight, the local affiliate switched from the live coverage to (then-Governor) Jesse Ventura giving a speech. To say I was angry did not begin to describe me. I felt at the time the entire experience was ruined by some half-assed attempt to be the Local News Leader. I do believe I called the station in a futile attempt to complain. Meanwhile the rest of the country got a live performance from Barbra Streisand. But I digress.
I'm bringing this up now because the idea of "the end of the decade" quite took me by surprise. As decades go, this is probably the craziest for me. My once toddler child is on the cusp of junior high. I'm a whole lot grayer, but thankfully slightly thinner. In these ten years I left a job, started a business, finished college, returned to theatre, ended a relationship, met a whole new circle of friends, developed new relationships, quit theatre again and left much of my old life behind in exchange for a lot of new. I can't say there's an old me versus a new me, because I'm still somewhat figuring that out. There's a whole lot of crossover. I'm a nostalgic person by nature, but sometimes it's to a fault. I hang onto memories that make me happy, and hang onto the things that remind me of the memories that make me happy. While well intentioned, it's not a good thing when the things take over. It’s getting so I can’t see what’s ahead of me.
So my goal for 2010 is to separate the past from the present, and hopefully find my future. Creatively I want to grow, financially I want to find some stability, and personally I want to be who I need to be to make myself and others happy. Ten years ago I was overwhelmed; concerned about the fate of the world when the clock struck Midnight. Tonight, it has to be more about what I can do starting at 12:01.
Happy New Year and tip your cab driver well. Peace out.