The End of a Decade?

Ah, here we are in the last month of the last year of the decade. Well, technically we’re really not. We get to spend this delightful month (and the one next year) debating over which one is really “The end of a decade.”

I know that people, in general, start counting at one. And the “first year of our calendar” was “1”, not “0”. So techincally, the decades since the start of our calendar should be considered as “1…0”, in which case we’ve got another year to go before the end of this decade. The more pedantic among us will be happy to make this argument *every single time* we hit “9” on the terminal year digit. And each and every time it’s a fascinating argument to endure.

However, I have a different perspective. A decade is a series of 10 years. It doesn’t have to be “the 10 years defined as 1..0”. A decade could be every 10 years that ends with a year ending in 5. And the way we refer to our decades (the 50’s, the 60’s, the 90’s) it really makes more sense to think that we’re talking about the tens digit number, not some specific mathematical distance from the beginning of the calendar.

So count it how you like. I think it’s reasonable to say that years that started with 195 were the 1950’s. I think it’s fine to celebrate the new millenium when we change 3 different numbers on the calendar, instead of the next one. Decades can be defined arbitrarily, so despite the fact that I love this debate topic *rolls eyes* I think we can move on to other more ground shaking discussions. You say to-may-to…

Dialogue & Discussion