Susan Duncan

Among the definitions Merriam-Webster offers for “per•spec•tive” is this:

“The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.”

We need that today — a lot of that.

Sometimes we get so engrossed in our day-to-day activities that we can’t, won’t, or don’t see the big picture.

All it takes, oftentimes, is a figurative step back to give us “the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed,” another of M-W’s definitions of perspective.

The other day an online post reminded me that our current decade, as we measure time in years, is nearing its inevitable end.

For someone who manages deadlines daily, I was slightly taken aback. Really? Already? Another one?

Oh, I know 2020 is but a ball drop in Times Square away. It’s a beginning.

Whenever 2020 is mentioned, I think of the song, ‘In the Year 2525,’ and its rhyming lyrics:

In the year 2525, if man is still alive

If woman can survive, they may find

The song debuted in the turbulent year 1968. It seemed to capture our soul-searching back then as many wondered if we would endure.

But here we are as the teens of the 2000s float from our grasp, afloat in our own sea of discontent.

Our struggles mimic those of a half-century ago:

• Racism.

• Political corruption.

• The carnage of drugs.

• Wars on distant shores.

What are we to make of our inability to slay our demons? Are we destined to be overtaken by them?

It seems we are as children on an endless merry go-round, caught in a loop of our own making.

We need a plan. Perspective can help us formulate one. The close of this decade is a good time to herd our meandering thoughts into cohesive reflection on our accomplishments and as-yet-unfulfilled goals, personal and as a people.

Did we realize what we set out to achieve when the decade held its full potential? It’s important to be candid with ourselves as we turn away from one decade toward the next.

What power within ourselves did we harness for good? Where did we disappoint? How are we going to do better with the new opportunity before us?

Look around. Some of the people you know and love today will not be here when it’s time to reflect on the next decade’s demise. You might not be, nor may I.

Will we get to a better place before our place among the living is given over to another?

Hear the babies’ cries so that we might feel the urgency of action. If each of us were to tackle mankind’s systemic shortcomings in our own sphere, we could transform the world.

In the year 2020… Write your own rhyme.

Susan Duncan is the editor of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Indiana, a sister newspaper of the Clinton Herald.