January 1st 2000, I had just come off the worst New Years Eve ever. My family had returned to Adelaide for a holiday after having moved to the Sunshine Coast the year before. They missed the people and the town, I did not. My parents had been invited to a party at the penthouse of a hotel. I, at age 16, got stuck in a ‘kids room’ where several kids under 13 watched crappy movies while I looked at the clock and prayed for it all to end.
Luckily the decade got considerably better from there. The first decade of the new millennium will be looked at retrospectively as a fond one. It was full of dramatic lows and so many highs as one would expect from ages 16 to 26. Here is a purely personal list of moments that defined my decade.
The 2008 United States Presidential Election Campaign
The result proved anticlimactic, but a generation from now the 2008 Presidential election campaign will be looked upon with the fervour that 1968 is looked upon by the Baby Boomers. The Democratic front runner Hilary Clinton deposed by an upstart as part of the the long drawn out Democratic primary, the genius of Olbermann and Maddow all year long, the bizarre antics of CNN’s political team, McCain picking Palin, and of course Obama coming from the clouds all made the year in US politics particularly memorable. If only Obama’s Presidency was (and is) as good as his campaign
Port Adelaide Power Winning the 2004 AFL Flag (25/09/04)
Unquestionably my sporting moment of the decade, it arguably made me happier than any other single moment of the decade. After dominating the three previous regular seasons only to succumb in the finals, Port Power finally won the Grand Final. A victory made all that much sweeter by the fact that the Power beat the Brisbane Lions: a football team that stirred so much hatred inside me that its impossible to describe. Even now I tear up watching the final moments as coach Mark Williams walks down the stairs of the MCG in tears as the ‘choker tag’ is finally defeated. It’s the most emotional sporting moment of my life thus far.
First Class Honours (12/12/07)
It is hard to put this achievement into perspective. To be told from birth that I would not amount to anything intellectually, and then to achieve the highest undergraduate honour possible at university level is quite the leap. My parents remember a time where I could not lift my head up voluntarily and were told that I would be lucky to ever do that by myself. Now I have completed two university degrees at a high standard, and I am well on the way to completing a third. The thesis was arguably the hardest task I have ever completed. Entitled False Dawn: The ALP and the Leadership of Mark Latham, it took me the best part of 10 months, 24,000 words and 90 pages. Achieving first class honours proved that I was no longer an academic pretender, and that I have the potential to become an expert. So much for being intellectually disabled.
The Election of the Rudd Government (24/11/07)
I remember the day I started following politics very clearly. It was the night of the 1996 election. Unfortunately, that was also the very same night that John Howard took office. I had followed every Federal election up until that point only for it to end in tears, quite literally. Then two days after my 23rd birthday that all changed, and finally the ALP under Kevin Rudd stormed into power. The four years of being a member of the party, volunteering on polling booths, the early morning meetings, the trips to Brisbane, and agonising through several leadership challenges all paid off at 7:20pm Queensland time when election analyst Antony Green called the election in the ALP’s favour.
The Tegan and Sara ‘Groupie Tour’ 2007 (12/12/07-16/12/07)
Seeing my favourite band once was always destined to be a memorable experience one way or the other. Seeing them three times in four days however made it destined to be a spellbinding journey. The trip itself was full of drama and some great times, and was an amazing life changing experience. Taking the journey with my best friend and fellow Tegan and Sara fanatic Candy made the experience all the more incredible as we followed them around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
This was the one holiday where I got to let my hair down, a rite of passage really that often comes much earlier in life for others. My first taste of independence, all done on my own terms, matched to the perfect soundtrack and a lifetime of memories. It is a period I will remember for the rest of my life and it defined my decade.