My fellow blogger Linkmeister just posted a thoughtful commentary, based on another blog he read, about how the world has improved in the last ten years. And he's quite right, it has. The changes he mentioned were worldwide in impact: improvements in disease control and poverty, and so on. But he got me thinking about the last ten years in my personal life.
So what has changed for me in the last ten years?
I'm no longer working for a paycheck, after 38 years in the work force. I keep pretty busy volunteering, but the days of early morning conference calls and annual performance reviews are history. So are the paychecks.
I have two artificial knees. Ten years ago today I thought I had two perfectly functional biological knees; however, that was the bliss of ignorance, and before 2000 was out I learned that my biological knees were not functional at all. I never knew how desperately I could want to walk to the store at the end of the street. I also didn't realize how much more annoying air travel would be when I have to get "wanded" every time I go through the metal detectors. I've taken some flack for this, but I think the new body scanners are just fine.
I'm probably in the best physical shape I've ever been in, and while I'm still technically obese, I'm losing weight slowly but steadily. After my first knee replacement, I joined a gym and continued to work out regularly; this clearly has to continue for the rest of my life.
Both my parents are dead. Ten years ago today my mother was still alive; but she didn't make it to the end of January. She survived her 88th birthday by about 2 weeks.
My mother-in-law died in 2003. (My father-in-law was dead before I met my husband.)
Two of the cousins I grew up with are dead. One of them just died this last Thanksgiving. A guy I've known since high school died, one of those friends I could call after a gap of a couple of years and pick up the conversation as if I'd never left. I left that call back to check in just a little too long. Call your friends.
My sister's health has deteriorated. Ten years ago she could walk without aids. Now she must use a walker, and she should use a wheelchair. But we think they've finally found a medication that will stabilize her and allow her to gain strength, so I'm cautiously hopeful. She's a fighter.
As a friend recently said at her 65th birthday party, I can't call myself "middle-aged" any more. (Actually, I can call myself whatever I damn please; but I have to be honest with myself.) My 65th birthday will happen this year, along with Medicare. Just as the Republicans are about to gut it, too. Gee, thanks, guys. Note to self: donate more money to AARP, they're fighting that corner.
I'm on my second new car since 2000. I always used to keep cars at least ten years. The car I sold in 2002 had 11 years on it.
I'm singing with the Oakland Symphony Chorus. Strictly speaking, I started that in December 1999, so I suppose I shouldn't count it. But it's added a whole new dimension to my life. It's also expanded my web management skills and taught me some basic audio recording skills.
I was never involved in local community affairs, and now that I'm retired, I am. Suddenly I know more of the people in the neighborhood. Funny how that works.
I'm sure other things have changed, but these are the big ones. The odd thing is that I feel stronger. Whatever doesn't kill you...