04 January 2011

The end of the zero years

It’s 2011! It feels like the start of a new decade, whether you agree or not. I hope it will bring lots of joy, happiness and a little luck and success too. I hope that we’ll be strong enough to conquer new battles, come to grip with disappointments, cope with diseases and losses, and deal with difficult situations and people who we don’t really like. I wish everyone a great and joyful new decade, starting off with a happy and healthy 2011. 

How do you look back on all the zero years? 

The first decade of a new millennium has passed.  In 1999, the world was afraid for a digital hick-up, the millennium bug. Hospitals, banks, stock exchanges, schools and shops – they were all afraid of a digital standstill and invested in ways to make their digital systems and clocks millennium proof. And nothing happened. Clocks continued ticking away and the year 2k was a fact.
In the following zero years, the digital world really took off. During my first years of study, I used a phone line to get online, which started with a lot op beep-beep-beep-ing to connect to the world-wide-web. During the last zero years, which were my first working years, I was able to catch up with (international) friends, colleagues and random people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter by connecting to the web on a gradually turning smarter phone.

The zero years included my final exams of secondary school, a Bachelor study, an Erasmus exchange program, a post grad Master’s study, an internship, a traineeship and my first years of working. It also included moving 11 times within 10 years, to and within 6 countries and living in, among other cities, 4 capital cities in Europe.  The zero years meant a start of my adult life. Suddenly, I became responsible for making my own living, my grades, my financial situation, my (food) shopping, my cooking, my health, my taxes, my driving and my government, as I was able to vote.

The zero years made me increasingly serious. 9/11 had a huge impact on my life, as I knew it. I spent a whole day watching TV and didn’t make it to the swimming pool where we were supposed to get healthy that day. Another one of those days is the day when terrorists were found in the block I used to live. That morning, I bounced my head to the wall when I woke up from a very early phone call, after spending a long night dancing. People, societies and countries turned insecure and less tolerant due to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on the London tube, a financial and economic crisis, Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’, and the murders of a Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, and a Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gogh.

Thankfully, the zero years also included the global Live 8 concerts, the interconnectedness on Facebook and Twitter, the awareness of climate change and sustainability, the election of Obama as president of the US, the end of the floppy disk, Harry Potter, iPod, and Ugg boots. 

The zero years also made me aware of the importance of a good health and life. Relatives and friends, older and younger, had to fight cancer. Fortunately, my brother survived, but unfortunately, an old friend died of it. I myself got to know what a diagnosis with a chronic disease means for plans, ideals and wishes for the future. Living with my new best friend Humira meant the world after having suffered from daily horrible pains. Carpe diem.

The zero years brought me to a lot of cities, countries and even continents. Flying became cheaper, I rediscovered travelling by train, and I thoroughly enjoyed studying, living and working abroad. Speaking and learning other languages, cultures, traditions and habits while learning simultaneously more about my country, traditions, perceptions, beliefs and myself.

It was a decade filled with expectations, wishes, anxiety, experiences, travels, difficulties, pain, happiness, surprises, losses, music and silence. Basically, it was a decade I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
Yes, there were some tough situations, some life-changing decisions (after moving 10 times, I bought my own apartment ;)), some very difficult mornings to get up for work, some new friends and some lost friends, and some doubts about my future work, life and health.. But all in all, it was a decade filled with life, my life. Welcome 2011.