01 Jan Bringing in a New Decade – a chance to shine as a teenager
Welcome along to the first Spark to your Success blog article for 2020. It’s a brand new year and a brand new decade, and that means it’s a fresh chance for you to take a firm hold of what you desire in life and start to shine as a teenager.
I do hope that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas break with family and friends and had a chance to rest and enjoy a little downtime away from the pressures of your education. If you read my last article about the games we play you’ll realise that we play out versions of board games and electronic games in real life too. There are competitive elements, and there are winners, losers and cheaters to contend with. I hope that your festivities were free from tantrums and tears, and that you were able to spend quality time with the people you love and those that support you in a positive way. I hope that you flourished being sociable rather than going into separate rooms or getting on with detached activities. Christmas is a time to bring joy and be together and a new year is a time to embrace positivity and enthusiasm.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”
A new year and a new decade to blossom
A new year always gets me thinking about change and opportunity. 2020 is special because it’s not just a new year, it’s a new decade too. Plenty of eye-rolling phrases are doing the rounds such as 2020 vision, 20 tips for 2020, but I’m not going to bamboozle you with clichés. Instead, I want you to think about how much change and development takes place over a ten year period. It’s a relatively small time period in your life, you’re still young and have many years ahead of you to shine. But a lot can happen.
What major innovations can you think of that launched during the last ten years? Social media exploded, climate change peaked on everyone’s agenda and AI and AR technology has emerged.
What is your biggest memory? What was your biggest achievement?
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
One hundred years ago – the roaring 20s
In my excitement about the new decade I wondered what it might have been like in the 1920s when we didn’t have the benefits of instance communication, the ease of global travel or the social support structure that we have today, so I did my usual inquisitive research … on Google of course! You have grown up with smart devices and electronic communication, but your ancestors had none of those luxuries. It was a completely different world.
The 1920s are affectionately known as the ‘roaring 20s’, which is quite appropriate because the First World War had ended and people were getting back to some level of normality and celebrating victory. Lives were rebuilt with newfound hope and strength in the community. After a lengthy period of austerity, fear and loss, people gained new prosperity, wealth and a carefree way of life. The jazz age was born and people danced, played instruments and had fun.
The 1920s was a decade of amazing discoveries and inventions.
- Airwave radios (there was no digital tech in those days)
- Telephone (not mobiles I might add)
- Washing machine
- Electric razor
- Instant camera
- Nail varnish
- Tasselled dresses
- Bobbed hair cuts
- Women were allowed to vote
- School leaving age increased to fourteen years
All of these appliances we take for granted today. Can you imagine living in a home that had a dark cold room, known as a pantry, where you kept your cheese and milk cold? Shopping would be a daily chore if you wanted fresh food and you’d have to go by foot because having a car was a privilege! Think about how inconvenient it would be not to be able to stick a load into the washing machine, but having to wash clothes by hand instead and let them dry outside, whatever the season! How would you cope?
With difficulty if you were accustomed to what we have today. But back then it would have been so much more exciting because 1920s developments wouldn’t have just been useful, they would have been revolutionary! Girls, what about being granted the right to vote? That was equality in the 1920s! Never mind equal pay!
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”
How times change
In the 1920s fashion was becoming a thing. Inventions made it easier for people to take care of themselves, to feel good and to live a better life. The pressures of keeping up appearances on social media, the stress in gaining a good education, the need and desire to travel the world and make a million just weren’t on people’s radar. You were just happy to be alive in the 1920s. What do you think has changed the way people feel today? Is it the same as it’s always been or do you think inventions and advances in the way we live bring complications too? Can you imagine leaving school and starting employment at fourteen? I personally think that in today’s society it would be very difficult to be ready for work at fourteen. Of course, if you’re fourteen and think differently, please do correct me J
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Does advancement bring a level of misery?
The 1920s started with a boom, but unfortunately it ended in a low with unemployment as high as 70% in some parts of England and Wales. 1929 saw a Wall Street crash and in the following decade came the Great Depression.
The last decade saw huge advances in technology with smart devices, electric vehicles and hydro trains, but we also saw peak levels of cyber bullying, grooming and radicalisation, made easier because of advances in communication and technology.
And did 2019 end with a low due to climate change concerns, the fires in Australia, Brexit uncertainty and on-going conflict in the Middle East? There’ll be no political comments from me so I’ll move swiftly back to welcoming in a new decade and encouraging you to blossom as a teenager – or being young at heart.
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.”
Look back with gratitude over the last year
I invite you to pause reading for a moment and take some time to go back over the photos you took throughout 2019 and the last decade. Scroll through your mobile photos or social media account and enjoy reminiscing.
- Where did you go?
- Who did you spend time with?
- What did you achieve?
- What qualifications or awards did you gain?
- What celebrations or parties did you attend?
- Where did you go on holiday?
I spent time in Aberdovey in Wales, enjoyed long beach walks, beautiful scenery and lazy nights chatting, laughing and playing with my family.
Adventures like these can be easily forgotten so it’s rewarding to spend time in nostalgia, remembering the good times. But do remember to come back to the present as you have plenty of time to shine in this new decade.
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
Look forward with expectation to the year ahead
A new year is a time to make a change, move forward in a different direction or improve what you know is working. Ask yourself what needs to be different in your life this year.
- What needs to be better?
- What can be new?
- And what worked last year that you need more of this year?
- Where will you go?
- Who will you spend time with?
- What will you accomplish?
- What are you dreams?
Take a few minutes to brainstorm the ideal situation, career choice, friends, and social activities. Create a vision board and imagine fast-forwarding to the end of 2020. What will your life look like?
Make it real
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about how you’re going to shine over the next twelve months, make it real and take action.
I’ve been lucky enough to bring in a new year with many special people in my life, in many different places. I enjoy simple things like fireworks, raising a glass with loved ones, watching the TV or using one of the traditional methods of taking a piece of coal out of the back door and into the front to mark the start of a new year. You’ll have your own memories and wishes too.
I wanted to share my favourite way to start a new year with you so you can try it out for yourself – Chinese lanterns.
Buy environmentally friendly wire free lanterns and a set of coloured pens. Spend time writing everything that you have been grateful for in 2019 on one side of the lantern and on the other side, write all your hopes and dreams for 2020. Once complete, send your lantern up to the sky and watch it float away into the new decade. It’s emotive and bonding to do this with friends and family and it’s actually an amazing sight to see.
Choose the life you want to lead
As Christmas is already a distant memory, I look forward to hearing what 2020 has in store for you. Please do leave your comments or questions on the blog and connect with to me on social media.
Let me wish you bright sparks and lots of joy for 2020 and thank you for coming on a journey with me to find your spark to success – go into 2020 and shine.