While I look forward to the start of a new decade and all that comes with it, I am somewhat sad to see this decade of zeroes end. It was the kind of decade where everything fit into place. I turned twenty in 2000, was twenty-five in 2005, and end it at twenty-nine in 2009. As of tomorrow that nice alignment fades away and as the twenty-xxs continue on I, in a month’s time, begin my thirties.
The 00s began on a tremendous low. I was still a teenager, a freshman at the University of Toronto, living with my parents in suburban Mississauga, broke and broken. I was miserable, newly uncertain of my future, and hopelessly lost. Before that first year was out, just ahead of December’s winter exam season, I effectively gave up. I stopped going to school, skipped all my exams, and abandoned all of my courses. Thousands of dollars, most of it in the form of scholarships, went to the shitter.
It could have been the setup for a devastating decade, but a month later, I managed to find, without even looking, a job at a local internet start-up as a Flash developer at a time when Flash was exploding thanks to newly released version 5. It was nothing but luck, I was in the right place (dreamless.org) at the right time, but it was the defining moment of the decade for me. Everything that came after came because of that. In the years that followed, I expanded my web skills, built up almost nine years of industry experience, and developed a diverse portfolio of projects and brands. My entire decade revolved around work and while I have absolutely no regrets about how it turned out it did mean that I missed out on some things.
That career, if you can call it that, is the reason why I am now in Paris. It is also why, during my four months here, I have seen so little of Paris. I’ve done nothing but sit in front of my MacBook. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all the people that have hired me and wanted to work with me and thought my work was good. I am thankful that my career has given me the ability to be so independent and autonomous, allowing me to work anywhere I can plug my laptop into the internet. It’s all been great, but as I look back on my life during the last decade and my life during my twenties I see a lot of time and very little living.
That is why I am going through another change of scenery. I’m leaving Paris behind, and its cramped apartments and its excess dust and its hustle and bustle, as I head down to the Cote d’Azur for the winter. As I do so, I plan on leaving all the internet distractions behind. Apart from some loose ends with already committed-to projects, I don’t intend to work. I don’t intend to Tweet much. I don’t intend to surf much. And I don’t intend to write to weblogs.
In many ways this has been the decade of the weblog, and I had been there for the whole of it: as of today this weblog is ten years old. I started a little Blogger.com site back in December 1999 and while it moved around and evolved quite a lot, as has my voice, the essence of it is very much the same as it ever was. Ten years of my life documented on the internet. It’s kind of scary to think about, but mostly kind of mundane. It’s also something that, having existed for a third of my life, feels so completely normal and natural that it’s not anything that I can ever give up. The topics and the interests and the style might change, but once you find your public voice, no matter how few people are listening, you don’t want to lose it. It will continue to be so. I will write and link and create for the next decade and beyond. Bring on the tens!
But in the meantime I’m going to go and attempt to live for once as I try to find my private voice.