What was the 2010s? Late night procrastination, chilling watching television? Walking to Starbucks after school, walking to school from Starbucks? Crying when opening the college admissions portal, crying with the shower running only to be heard by your parents anyway? Was it a nightmare, a mad trip, a flavored kool-aid? Was it existential, or empty, or cold, sometimes lonely? Golden? like a Ferrari on Mulholland drive?
It was the first full decade I’ve lived through, the first through which I tracked every single movie I watched, the first during which I started making bimonthly playlists. It’s also when I got my first personal computer, when I created my first enter-the-name-of-every-single-social-media-platform account, and when I initiated first contact with the internet, games, music, movies — the beginning of my life as a screenager.
I started the decade wandering around Disneyland Paris without knowing a single word of French; one second I was preparing for my middle school entrance exam in Wuhan, the next I was sitting in a classroom speaking broken English in a suburban school in California; I ended the decade with no knowledge of Spanish other than a damned 4 on the AP Spanish test. I regretted not going to The 1989 World Tour; I sang along to Team without knowing any other song from Pure Heroine which would become the love of my life; I hated Bloom, then liked Bloom; I hated Sam Smith, then loved him, then hated him again for not singing the title track on his tour; I wiggled my way around art, though never finding out exactly what I love; I moved from imagining to making, from collecting floor plans to not having time to collect floor plans, from reading Chinese books to reading English books back to reading Chinese books.
In 2013, when Frozen first came out, I must’ve watched it at least 10 times because every single teacher played it during class when they got lazy. Let It Go was a cultural phenomenon, and Elsa my favorite animated character until Zootopia. This year, I went to see Frozen II, it no longer has the same magical quality of the first one, but something about it calms my wandering heart that has never been more lost and alone and scared of growing old: I can pursue the unknown even from within the safety of the castle, and someday, I might realize, as Elsa does, that I am the one I’ve been waiting for, all of my life.
2010s was fiery youth, incorruptible happiness, kaleidoscopic colors. It was dying in L.A., seeking directions and adapting to the lack thereof, and learning we are not what we thought we were. What was done, what was said — maybe it was a whole lot of baggage. But I also believe that if we find any way to a wild heart, one foot in front of another, and stay ‘til the A.M., god will save our youngblood. Because, after all, being on top of the world, acting stupid for fun, living wild and free, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, no?
In the meantime, I will play Long Live at exactly 23:58:57 so that I step into the new decade with “the start of an age.”
Next decade, do the next right thing.