Today is my eldest daughter's tenth birthday, born as she was on the eve of the Millennium. Apart from the incredulity I feel at the rapid passing of time, I look back with some pride to think that we have managed to guide her over halfway to the age of majority, though I am under no illusions that the parenting duties will end there, occasionally dependent as I still am on my own mother for at least a bit of advice or a listening ear. Nobody provides a job description for being a parent, and you make a lot of it up as you go along, extemporising the hell out of it and hoping for the best, while all the time spending more and more money that you don't have, and trying hard to do the best you can. Not to mention the day job.
I of course fear for the future, for the kind of world she and her sister will be inheriting, and have no doubt that many of the things we now take for granted will not be there in a few years' time. Personally, I am very disappointed that, well past the Year 2000, we appear to be somewhat lacking in jet packs and flying cars, which I'm sure we were faithfully promised. Email on a mobile phone is a very poor substitute, I have to say.
Will there still be Apple Computer, apples, Halifax Town, the Halifax, Channel 4 Television, television, Waitrose, online shopping, shopping, Penguin Books, penguins, intercontinental mass transportation, local mass transportation? None can tell. There are many Ozymandiases around these days to serve as reminders of our hubris.
But perhaps the world our kids will live in might be a slightly better place in some ways. Should I take heart from the fact that plastic bag issuing is down from 13 billion to 9 billion? Should I be pleased that school topics are focussed on environmental issues, and happy that my youngest has a teacher who is afflicted with dyslexia, thus reflecting an increased inclusiveness? Or should I cry in my beer over the sad reality of growing up, the slow destruction of the fairy tales we're all told when young - that everything is going to be all right? There there.
As a human, and as a father, I think I can only look forward, only hope that we will somehow muddle through and find a solution to the multitude of woes we face. And when I look at my daughter's face, when I hear her talk and see her grow, and watch her play the drums on her new Rock Band, I am less filled with fear than I was.