The 2020’s are here, and so are you. It’s not just a new year, but also a new decade, and one where we need to step up our game. The 2020’s has a distinctly futuristic sound to it, especially if you were fortunate enough to have been born or raised in what can now be safely called, the previous century. Whereas the future is here, we are still mired in some old problems, which emerged from the drift of political chaos and social uncertainty of this century’s first two decades. The fact that some issues have been allowed to fester since the end of the Cold War, or the turn of the century (and the millennium) is an indictment on society’s inaction against them.
If you remember the change of the millennium, you will remember there was a feeling that the progress seen during the 1990’s would continue. This had after all, been the first decade spent since the end of the Cold War, and the recession of the threat of nuclear war and dictatorial governments had sustained an optimistic belief of a better and improving world. Our expectations didn’t pan out and world politics derailed so badly in the 2000’s that the effects of the previous decade continued to be felt into the next decade, the 2010’s.
Now the 2010’s are over, and although a lot was accomplished and consolidated, people do not feel like celebrating the decade that just passed. Here are some things we can do to make the next decade better.
1) Collectively Doing Things
The last few decades have been great for personalising technology but let’s get real: one of the consequences of this increased technologizing of our personal lives has been increased alienation; from ourselves and each other. Meaningful human interaction and contact has come to be at a premium and even in the developing world we need to get back to interacting with each other on a meaningful level. This can include re-kindling friendships, relationships, joining associations, groups, teams, going out more, anything to increase the amount of human interaction in one’s life. We realize some people may not have the resources or time to do this but if you can spare any, it would be good for you to start doing things (like organising collectively) reaching out to those who may not have the time or resources, or share some of their burden so that they can also spend meaningful time with those they care about. In short, do more (positive) things with real life people.
2) Set Aside Time Away From Technology
The way in which technology is evolving nowadays is intended to further colonise people’s personal lives, so the public has to be a little more resolute in maintaining time for itself. Separate from the idea of collectively working together, which may or may not involve technology, we should try and set time away from the glare of the screen and for ourselves. That time may or may not be with those you care about. But do schedule it away from the mobile device, the laptop or the television. Maybe eat out (alone or with friends), or set some time aside to read a book. You can easily engross yourself in a story that you enjoy without the annoyance of ads and pop-ups and the digital glare.
3) Taking Better Care of Your Personal Lives and Yourself
Exercise more and eat better. A decade is a long time and provides an opportunity for you to look after your health and focus on fixing what is wrong with your well-being. You can eventually find time and work on your fitness and get into a shape that you like. You can also examine your diet and find ways to make sure that you eat better and healthier, preferably with smaller portions of food.
4) Taking Better Care of Your Finances, Job and Professional Life
A new decade is an excellent time to take stock of your career over the last ten years, see how it went, learn some lessons and apply them to how you work. If you are starting your career right now, then you are fortunate to be doing it at this time compared to any other in the past ten years since the economic effects of the Great Recession of 2008 have mostly receded. If the politics of the world holds out, this could be an era that sees a sustained economic boom.
Considering the state of the environment and the fact that we all have to share it, getting involved in climate activism and educating the people around you about climate change is not a bad idea. The world’s temperature has risen 1°C already from pre-industrial levels. The world should intervene with the fossil fuel industry and stop the climate’s temperature from rising any further. At the current rise in temperature we have already seen multiple large scale natural disasters across the world that have disrupted politics and society. At 2°C, destructive feedback loops would kick in and we will see run away climate change that cannot be dealt with. It is best to deal with this issue, quickly and in this decade. A decade is a long enough time for someone to find a way to get involved.
In response to the economy’s condition, we should take every opportunity to demand that it work for the people, not the other way around. A new decade is a fresh chance to say that the jobs and work we do, should not just pay us, but benefit us as well.
7) Sports and Entertainment
Pakistan needs the development of all sports at all levels, and the improvement of its grass-roots cricket infrastructure. Again, it must be said that a decade is a long time and Pakistan needs to take all sports seriously. This means thinking beyond cricket and sponsoring the growth of all sports across the country. This nation needs to expand its athletic horizons. Ordinary consumers can do this by writing or otherwise communicating to the marketing departments of large companies that either sponsor or broadcast sports to the rest of the country and demand that they divert more resources and attention to other games besides cricket. Voters can also inform the politicians at the relevant ministries and government departments to also begin helping other sports in Pakistan, besides cricket.
People are tired of the same stale media representations that they have been seeing for years now. Whether it’s in news or entertainment, the constant barrage of bad news and bad entertainment must be confronted because in this digital age of online streaming, we know that there are always better choices available. Thus, media consumers are encouraged to email, and write to the producers and editors of bad programming and make their opinion known. People seem to enjoy complaining. So enough is enough with the bad, jingoistic news and dramas beamed to us through cable.
9) Democracy and Politics
Get involved in politics and the processes that deal with your life. It is vital that as a person you learn to deal with the forces that affect your lived experience and if need be, organise around shaping a prepared response or ready alternative policies or philosophies that work for you.
10) Peace (at home and abroad)
Everyone reading this has access to the internet and can communicate with people abroad. This should manifest itself as a consciousness with a new internationalism and a demand across and within borders for harmony and peace between peoples. Demands must be made to governments that they not cover their failures by scapegoating those abroad or persecuted at home. This renewed era of authoritarian xenophobia needs to be brought to a swift close, and this new year is a great time to start it.
This is a new decade and it’s a chance to embrace change. If nothing else, even though the politics may be the same, things can change, and the opportunity for substantial positive change must not be abdicated. Whereas the 2000’s and 2010’s were entered on the backs of economic crises that weakened the public, there is only the lingering effects of the 2008 crisis and the expansion of inequality it saw that still affects us. People can still make money and live a life. Some of that can be used to dealing with a world that hasn’t changed quickly enough for the better.