10 Times Around The Sun – By @chlo_gray
By Chloe Gray
10 Times Around The Sun
On the 2nd of September 1752, the population of Britain went to bed and didn’t get up again until the 14th of September 1752.
After an exhilarating but exhausting first term at SCA, I can absolutely relate to the desire to stay in bed for 11 days. But how could the whole country have been so tired? Some sort of sleeping beauty curse? An ancient hibernation tradition?
None of the above. This was actually the point in history that the UK government switched from the Julius calendar to the Gregorian calendar we use today. They had to jump forward over a week into the future to align with the new system. According to some accounts, furious Brits took to the streets in protest, demanding that the government “give them their 11 days back”. The thought of this scene unfolding amuses me.
The shift in calendars also moved New Year’s Day to the 1st of January. Prior to this, people were nursing hangovers and making their unrealistic resolutions on March 25th instead.
Alas not everybody grooves with Gregorian. There are parts of the world that use totally different calendars to us – right now in Ethiopia, it’s only 2012. They won’t see 2013 for another nine months. In January, Chinese New Year celebrations will welcome in the start of 4718. Wild.
Our calendar is a construct, agreed upon by a bunch of parliamentarians in powdered wigs. But even though the way we count and compartmentalise time is all subjective, I still feel this deep nostalgia about coming to the end of the decade.
The 2010s shaped me. Almost half of my life, and pretty much all the stuff worth remembering, is contained within those ten years. The highlights, lowlights and midtones; I’ve felt euphoria, anguish and all the colours in between.
I’ve laughed until I was lightheaded. I’ve hurt and been hurt. Fallen in and out and in and out of love. I’ve held hands and wiped tears. I’ve been a friend and wished I was more. Been uninterested and been unrequited. I’ve felt the excess and the absence of happiness. I’ve found my voice, found my footing, figured out what I believe in and what I’d fight for.
I’ve danced until my feet blistered. Sailed the Ionian Sea with strangers. Laid by a campfire watching satellites and shooting stars. I’ve run around Greenwich Village, drunk and carefree. Driven through the city at night, windows down, music loud.
I’ve cried on my birthdays and questioned my existence in the small hours. I’ve resented my hometown and I’ve yearned for it. I’ve been a coward. I’ve been brave. I’ve come face to face with my flaws. Lost friends and found friends. Taken my parents down from their pedestals. Accepted transience as a fact of life. Learnt to be gentle. Learnt to let go.
Looking back is bittersweet, but important. There’s no part of the last ten years I would change. Everything has led me to this point and I’m right where I need to be. I have a good feeling about the 2020s, even if a decade is just a concept. I’m ready for more stories, more lessons, more life.