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'When people talk about the Roaring '20s, they don't mean 1921 through 1930.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Dana HaynesA reader called in mid-December to take us to task for saying the decade of the 2010s was ending this week. He pointed out, correctly, that Western calendars begin with Year 1, not Year 0, and thus this decade actually ran from 2011 through to the end of 2020.

We were a full year early.

The reader was mathematically correct. But not socially correct. That's because we don't measure time the same way we celebrate it.

Yes, Western historians measure time from Year 1 Anno Domini.

But when people talk about the Roaring '20s, they don't mean 1921 through 1930.

It works on the personal scale, too. I spent much of my 20s as a college student. By "my 20s," I mean from the time I was 20 to the time I was 29. Not the year I turned 30.

I was in a newsroom in Salem two decades ago this week when we geared up for the beginning of the millennium, colloquially known as Y2K. I remember all the planning and detail that went into it.

I was in the same newsroom a year later and nobody geared up for Y2K+1.

And it's not just about time. You don't say, "Hey, look at that!" when your odometer hits 299,999. But you do when your odometer reads 300,000.

Online and in the Jan. 2 print issue, we take a look back at the biggest, most impactful stories of the 2010s, as selected by our newsroom.

We won't do the same "look back at the 2010s" a year from now.

Because we measure time differently than we celebrate time.

If all this is confusing, remember what Groucho Marx taught us: "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

Dana Haynes is the Portland Tribune managing editor.


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