Reflections on the End of the Decade
Examining the legacies we leave behind as we enter the 2020s.
As the 2010s come to a close, I have been reflecting a lot on its legacy. What will history say about the 2010s? What impact will this decade have on our world and on our society? How will we remember our individual legacies? What will have been our achievements, our failures, our regrets? What impact did we make on this world during this decade? How have we grown over these past ten years? How have we changed? How have we stayed the same? How has this decade shaped our lives?
On a global scale, the 2010s marked the ascendance of technology and artificial intelligence. From Tesla’s self-driving electric cars to Amazon’s personal home assistant Alexa, technological changes in the 2010s transformed our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. While cheap consumer items have never before been so obtainable and the world became more connected than ever before, there were certain trade-offs made without our knowledge. Companies like Google and Facebook sold our user data without our permission, and authoritarian regimes like China harnessed the power of new technologies to monitor its citizens in more sophisticated ways. As we enter a new decade, we will be forced to answer how best to find the balance between technological advancement and our own human freedom. Surely the legacy of the 2010s can serve as a guide?
Moreover, the 2010s fared much better than the 2000s economically. Millions of people across the globe were lifted out of poverty, the stock market rose to new heights, and unemployment fell to its lowest level in decades. Yet at the same time, dark undercurrents flowed throughout the global populace. People grew more distrustful of one another in the 2010s. They began to consider those with whom they disagreed as evil and unworthy of their respect. Bitterness, divisiveness, and political polarization became the norm in the 2010s, and there are no signs of detente. Will the 2010s serve as a wake-up call for us? Will we decide to treat each other with the respect and dignity that we deserve in the 2020s? How will we grapple with the 2010s’ exposure of rampant divisions between us?
On a more personal level, the 2010s will be marked as a decade of excitement in my life. In January 2010, I worked as a United States Senate Page for Senator Kit Bond (R-MO). There, I worked alongside statesmen like John McCain and Joe Biden, and watched as the Senate passed monumental, albeit controversial legislation. By 2011, I graduated from high school where I was awarded the “Esto Vir” Award for excellence in character, leadership, and academics. And after graduating from College of the Holy Cross in 2015 with a degree in Political Science, I enrolled at the University of Kentucky College of Law. There I served in student government, was a member of the Trial Advocacy Team which finished in 3rd place at the National Trial Competition in Austin, Texas, and graduated in the top-30% of my class in 2018. And at the very end of the decade, in late-2019, I started my own law firm.
And yet, while I will remember the 2010s as a time of great personal triumph and growth, the decade will also be marred by the loss of two beloved grandparents. In 2014, we lost my grandmother and just last year Parkinson’s Disease took my grandfather away from us. Their legacies, and the ways that they shaped my life, will stay with me forever.
My point in discussing legacies is this: our time on this earth is limited, and if the past decade has taught us anything, a lot can change in the course of just ten years. Though some things are out of our control, we can decide how we choose to spend our time as individuals on this planet. We are the masters of our legacies. We build livelihoods for ourselves which we hope to pass on to our loved ones when we are gone. And we should do everything in our power to protect those legacies so that we can be remembered after our deaths.
I started The Taormina Firm because I believe in protecting legacies. Proper estate planning does just that. With guidance and legal counsel from The Taormina Firm, you can shape your own legacy and determine how best to share your prosperity with your loved ones after you pass into the next life.
In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some blogs about simple estate planning techniques, and discussing the history of estate planning for those who are interested. I hope that you will read along. And as we enter this next decade, I hope that you will reflect with me on how the preceding 10 years can help shape the next.
Happy New Year!