Twenty years ago last month, I sat around my dining room table, celebrating Thanksgiving with family in the house where I grew up. Among the guests were a couple of software engineers from my wife’s side of the family, so naturally the table talk turned to Y2K and the possibilities of a worldwide, simultaneous computer crash, and its effects on civilization as we know it. They were, and are, level-headed people, not given to leaping at every pop-culture panic. But the conversation took a dark turn when one of the computer experts at the table said, “I don’t anticipate a major problem. But I wouldn’t want to be in an airplane at 35,000 feet when the date rolls over.”
That was… sobering. When serious people say serious things, you listen.
Of course, nothing happened (thankfully) and the New Year’s Eve party we attended on 12/31/1999 to welcome in the new millennium with friends went off without a hitch. When the lights stayed on in Asia & Europe we figured we were good, so like most NYEs we looked back at the year gone by and talked plans for the year to come. Ate, drank, went home, went to bed. Woke up to a new day.
2010. I was in my 8th year of teaching and had just started to implement ideas lifted from a group of math teachers that called themselves the MTBoS (“math twitter-blog-o-sphere”), ideas that changed my teaching forever and literally saved my career. It was a another year before I ventured into the twitterverse.
We had a high school freshman and a 1st grader. I considered myself a semi-serious runner. The Cubs and Bulls were bad. Had a chance to broadcast a tremendous season of Homewood-Flossmoor football that ended in the Illinois 8A semifinals at Gately Stadium. Our puppy developed a taste for baseboards, windowsills, and coffee table legs. Probably a bunch of other stuff happened that I’ve forgotten because that was 10 years ago.
In-between. I switched schools. Urban –> exurban. Presented at some conferences. Made great acquaintences online and IRL. Ran some marathons. Got older. Maybe wiser. Stopped running. Got heavier. Watched my oldest son learn some harsh lessons, then mature into a semi-responsible adult as he completed Army basic training and became a 95 Bravo. One of my students asked me what I wish I knew before I had kids. I said, “I wish I knew that what hurt them would hurt me too.” Found out nobody owes you nothing.
Update: The Cubs stopped being bad and won the World Series.
Also: Discoveries Unlimited no longer exists. It was a great idea, the world around wasn’t quite ready for it I guess.
2020. I predict you’ll get tired of the word “vision” sometime about February or so. Mrs. Dull signed me up for a half-marathon training group, so I guess I’m going to be a semi-serious runner again. I’ll be teaching a 16-year-old to drive (ora pro me). There is a major round-number milestone birthday in my family. Other that that, I have no idea what to expect. Don’t look for any puffy-chested pronouncements from me as far as resolutions. A few years ago I stumbled across a blog post from Allyson Apsey suggesting a New Year’s Playlist rather than a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Made sense then. Still does now. It’s more fun and it lasts longer. Give it a listen if you want.
I made a GDoc back in late summer and started dumping ideas for songs on there. I typically would have put the actual playlist together over Christmas Break, but this year I needed a boost during a marathon Thanksgiving week grading session, so it actually debuted in November.
“I love my city they let me cut the line on the Dan Ryan
They walk on eggshells and landmines
They communicate with hand signs
Do you remember how when you were younger
The summers all lasted forever?
Days disappear into months, into years
Hold that feeling forever”
Some samples if you are a video-type person. Hope you love Brittany Howard’s late summer release as much as I do. It kind of sets the chill mood for the entire playlist:
Which is not to say there aren’t any bangers on the list (“Van Weezer” LOL):
Spent a week or so over the summer sitting in the sun with a cold drink reading José Vilson‘s “This Is Not A Test“. To the point where one day I said “Hey Alexa, play Eric B. & Rakim” for a soundtrack while I read.
But Beck’s latest kind of hits the right note for the last 12 months or so of #teacherlife:
And a quick reminder, for those days when I’ve had it and I want to bail:
The tunes are in place. My mind is right. The last sunrise of 2019 is in the books. The only computer concerns we have these days are when an ad for something we were just now talking about shows up in our TL on our phones seconds later. Alright, 2020, let’s go. Show me something.