2010 - 2019: A Decade In Review

Yeah the twitter 10 yr summary posts keep rolling in, and why not? 10 years is a long time, in fact it’s nearly 13% of the average American’s entire lifetime. Why does a good intentioned, shortly lived viral moment like this go from widely participated in, to widely celebrated, to widely mocked and ridiculed?

Right now I’m sitting at my fiance's 10 year high school reunion at an open courtyard beer garden in Oakland, CA. I’m sitting on a high chair leaning against a wall, sipping on a hazy IPA and still enjoying a hit of lava cake, overlooking the class of PHS ‘09 and taking it all in. I’m observing from afar because last month I had my own 10 year HS reunion in NY and noticed how the significant others of my HS classmates were avoided like the plague. Why? Because it’s hard enough to see 10 years of your youth flash before your eyes, let alone confront everything you thought you were, and everything you thought you would or could be, by December 28, 2019. The last thing you want to do is meet someone new and awkwardly bullshit about whatever when you’re looking to relive and reminisce about the best times of your past.

You walk into this gathering with a majority of your mentality being stuck in the summer of 2009. High school reunions are the closest thing to a time machine humans will ever experience. And it’s a pity a good chunk of the class are “too cool” to attend (you’re not), and it’s sad, yet understandable, for the group too afraid to attend (I feel for you).

Watching from afar as I sip my beer: the rekindling of old friendships and old flames, it’s heartening. It’s a warm feeling that is a quintessential human feeling. It cannot be replicated. And it makes it hard to understand why these relationships weren’t ongoing over the past 10 years. Of course college and then life gets in the way. But in an age of instant communication, sharing, tweeting...it’s not bringing us closer. Some platforms bring us closer, like SnapChat, but others, like Facebook, do not.

My high school class was introduced to Facebook in 2007/2008 (sophomore/junior year), and that version of Facebook did what is was built to do: connect us. It was a combination of friends picture uploads of their weekend away, or together, and utterly dumb status updates that make zero sense now looking back on it. Today, Facebook has transformed into ads, random 3 min welding/building/brick laying DIY videos, and conspiracy theories.

Today is not 10 years ago: Technologically, politically, or socially. Living a physical mile away from your high scool buddy in NYC in 2019 is the equivalent to 100 miles in 1991. Does that make any sense? I think so. The point is, the technology that connected us a decade ago is now pushing us apart. It’s scary, sad, and curious all at the same time. We are indeed living in a moment where humans are willfully subjecting themselves to mass social experiments, completely oblivious to the potential consequences, completely oblivious to the experiment itself.

I’m an optimist. I try everyday to be happy. And when shit hits the fan I think about how things could be worse. That’s how I’m wired.

What has resonated with me the most over the past few months, heading into this new decade, is the importance of relationships/friendships (thank you @Profgalloway). The importance of reaching out, even if it’s about nothing, or something silly, on an ongoing basis, can dramatically change your life.

I’m grateful for learning this at the ripe age of 28. Whenever I see something that reminds me of someone, I reach out and tell them. Whether it’s an old photo or a reference to an inside joke, there’s nothing more important in this world than connections, relationships, friendship and love.

I fully walk into this next decade, embracing the potential possibilities, hardships, opportunities, and absolute fuck ups/failures/mistakes, because besides recently learning the importance of reaching out to old friends and the rewards it can bring, my biggest learning of the 2010s is: Failure is ok as long as you learn from it.

Looking back at the beginning of this decade, I realize that taking a temporary break from college after my first semester was the best thing that could have happened to me, even though at the time it felt like it was life-ending (you're dramatic when you're young). I would do it all over again. There’s always a silver lining.

If I didn’t leave college after my first semester, I wouldn't have worked in a fine dining restaurant as a chef for 8 months as I attended my local community college. This means I probably wouldn’t have wooed the most amazing business school group partner I’ve ever had with a chocolate spiced creme brule in the library during group project work sessions. Which means I would not be sitting in a beer-garden in Oakland for a 10 year HS reunion.

As bad as it seems it may be, it gets better as long as you persist. And that’s why I now have 4 years of fine dining cooking experience under my belt, an MBA, and a CMT. Invest in yourself, and in relationships, and watch the returns Compound.

Here’s to another decade of positivity, growth, and, yes, failure.

Mr. 🦊, CMT


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