Turn of the Century

Ask anyone over the age of 30 when "the turn of the century" was, and I would wager that you are nearly as likely to get the year 1900 as you are 2000.

What a weird fucking concept, to have two semi-active definitions of a point in time separated by 100 years.

I'm not a sociologist or linguist or historian (or whatever other profession might actually study this), but I suspect it has to do with memory.

"The turn of the century" evokes a kind of antiquated time period in my mind; a time that I did not live in, nor do I remember. It brings up sepia-colored visions of war and poverty and a slow, analog world.

What it does not do is make me think of middle school, which is when the most recent turn of the century actually was for me.

But that's what it will mean to my children. An antiquated time before their memories. A time before digital cameras and smartphones and virtual reality and the modern ubiquity of The Internet. A time where our homes had their own phones, our computers had their own rooms, and the television played whatever the hell it wanted, whether you were watching it or not.

In both cases, I think the world feels slower in retrospect, and while nobody reminisces about the early 1900s, I think those of us who came of age at the turn of this century yearn for the moments before the rush of life collided with the beginnings of adulthood.


If you like this post or one of my projects, you can buy me a coffee, or send me a note. I'd love to hear from you!


This is post 044 of #100DaysToOffload