Posted by: Captain Easychord | January 1, 2010

How You Like My Shiny New Decade?!?

Happy New Year and welcome to the new decade!  Wait… you say the decade doesn’t actually start until next year because there was no year zero meaning that the “first” decade ran from years 1 AD through 10 AD?  Well that’s just smashing… and if you’re specifically describing the 201st decade in times AD on the Julian and Gregorian calendars, you’re absolutely right.  Only problem is that this particular type of breakdown (ie: decades in relation to an origination date that is the beginning of the common era) is useful and/or relevant approximately… never.

Heck, we’re substantially more likely to talk about our own personal decades even though those often not only fail to correspond to ten year periods beginning in a year ending in 1, but also don’t happen to fall on the first/last day of the year. Even more often, we identify decades by a year’s digit in the tens place… the 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s, etc.  We also say that summer runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, despite the astronomical dates being a few weeks later (not to mention the meteorological dates in fact corresponding to the beginnings and ends of months).   Would you want to show up to a Memorial Day BBQ and tell everyone that they still had just over a fortnight until they could really celebrate summer’s arrival?  I didn’t think so.

So yeah, it’s not wrong to say that “the decade” doesn’t start until next year… it’s just that if you want to make that claim you’re talking about a particular ten year period that is only relevant to a limited number of people … and it doesn’t negate the fact that the decade of the aughts has ended.

Sheesh.  Anyway, good riddance to the aughts.  Here’s to hoping the new decade (“the teens?”)  will be better!

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