Friday, 1 January 2010

A new year, a new decade

A new year, a new decade. What I have found striking, as we have entered the 'tens, has been the lack of programmes on TV looking back at the naughties. On new year's night 1989, I stopped at my Grandmother's house (She is still alive, albeit very frail. Even so, she will celebrate her 93rd birthday on the 25th August 2010). There was a programme on TV called "Cilla says goodbye to the '80's".

When the 1990's and the 20th Century ended, there were a triple-decker of programmes looking back at the year 1999, the 1990's and the 20th Century. Yet at the end of 2009, all there has been are programmes looking back at the year, which has seen the deaths of famous names such as David Vine, Tony Hart, Wendy Richard, Jade Goody, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Sir Bobby Robson, Patrick Swayze, Keith Floyd, Edward Kennedy, Stephen Gateley and Edward Woodward. Otherwise, it is as if the naughties never happened.

We are now in the age of image, soundbite, spin and reality TV, even though Big Brother is about to end this year, and this is probably why no serious, in-depth, analytical, "Look-back at the decade" programmes have been made or why they aren't made anymore. Even on the "Look back at 2009" programmes, there has been no serious, in-depth analysis made by a presenter, but instead, a host of mildly famous people acting as talking heads, rather like the best or worst compilation programmes in 2000. I also think that the noughties has been the decade of dumbing down.

The recession has got worse, caused by the bankers irresponsibility. MP's and the political profession have been disgraced and discredited in 2009, with their false expense claims, such as claiming money to pay off non-existent mortgages and for repairs for duck ponds and moats. On this theme, there will be a General Election this year. I predict that it will be held on the 6th May and David Cameron's Conservative party will return to power after an absence of 13 years, with a majority of about 50 seats.

Weatherwise, it was a mixed year. It was quite a cold winter, with a cold January and heavy snow at the beginning of February but a mild end. March, April and May were sunny. June was mixed but there was a heatwave at the end of the month, which transferred into July. However, the month was then very wet and unsettled. August was mixed, but fairly warm and dry. September was very dry, and October was quite dry. November was very wet and December cool and sunny.

It was a neutral kind of year for me personally. Neither good or bad. My mum's family had a bad year. On Thursday 26th March, her younger sister suffered an aneurysm in her brain and had to undergo a 10-hour operation at Sheffield Royal Hallamshire hospital, she survived though. Then, on Saturday 11th April, my mum's brother-in-law died suddenly in his sleep, of a heart attack, at the age of 69. He would have been 70 in October, and would have celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary on Boxing Day.

The decade was also a mixed one. I didn't become wealthy, I haven't achieved as much as I would like, I still have serious problems related to having AS, I am single. I have no children. I am unemployed, but it was still one of progress for me on the whole, and certainly better than the '80's or the '90's for me.

On Wednesday 31st May 2000, (I have never married), came the second most important day of my life, when I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. All sorts of feelings, which I have bottled up beforehand, came out after the diagnosis. This propelled me to design my website. Through this website, I made a few friends, namely people who have Asperger's Syndrome, have had my guestbook signed by people across the world, which I didn't envisage, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Isreal, France, Singapore and Malta. I have had emails from people all over the world as well.

Almost every email I have had has been positive. I am not an unfeeling person, but due to my past experiences, facing a world that is hostile to Aspies and Autistic people, I have developed a thick skin. I have had to, in order to survive. Besides, everybody is entitled to have or to express an opinion, whether they agree with you or not. It would be a boring world if everybody thought the same, and if somebody else writes another hostile email, saying that they dislike my website, I won't be devastated or suicidal as a result. What would anger me, is someone making personal attacks on myself, but that wouldn't crush me either. I would shrug it off and think that they have the problem, not me.

The advent of Facebook, the fact that my website needs a lot of updating, other websites and increased knowledge about Asperger's Syndrome in the last 14 months have all reduced the popularity of my website. I think the peak days of my website have passed. Nobody has signed my guestbook since the 4th October 2009, and I haven't received an email about my website since the 5th December 2009... which read....

"Greetings from Calgary, Alberta, Canada!

My husband has Asperger's Syndrome. My son likely has it too. He is 6. Such is my adventure. I have enjoyed reading your website. Thank you for all the time you have taken to put the site together.

Best Regards".

This decade, I also visited Cambridge, London and Norwich for the first time, and went abroad for the first time. I watched a DVD for the first ever time, and got a PC for the first ever time with Internet access. I used ebay for the first time and bought something off it. I stopped using walkman's (November 2004) for MP3 players. However, I stopped keeping weather records in January 2004.

As well as reality TV and dumbing down, this has been the decade of Friends Reunited, music downloads, facebook, blogs, twitter, youtube, wikipedia, myspace, broadband, Blue ray players, wars, sophisticated terrorist techniques, x-box, wii fit, texting and digital TV. Top of the Pops and Grandstand were axed. The use of DNA has advanced in crime, with people being convicted for murders, 20 or 30 years after they did the offence. Major high street stores stopped selling VHS recorders. The influence of newspapers dramatically decreased, due to people setting up their own websites, writing their blogs with their take on the news and events and expressing their opinions.

No doubt advances in medicine, science and technology, and changes in life will occur in the next ten years. I also believe, or at least hope, awareness will increase in the field of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.


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