If you stayed awake all night on Nov. 7, 2000, in a state of disbelief that exploded on Sept. 11, 2001, and persevered through the subsequent defiling of our nation's core to rise again, hopeful, on Nov. 4, 2008, then today is one of the best days of your life.
It's the first workday of the new decade. It's a chance to reclaim what we lost, but more importantly, a chance to begin taking concrete steps toward the future we started to envision on the campaign trail a couple of years ago.
For the Millennial Generation, of which I am a proud member, the terror, disappointments, heroism and aspirations of the last decade contextualized the tumultuous socio-political climate that has the potential to define our future. As we came of age and consciousness, we observed bitter partisanship, fraudulent elections, timid leadership, convoluted priorities, bloodshed and intolerable inequities. However, we also saw the inklings of a renewed democracy, fueled primarily by Barack Obama's strong leadership and a technological revolution that has redistributed power and provided us with opportunities to become a generation of entrepreneurs. Whether we succumb to pettiness and convention or set our own new standard of success is a choice that's ours to make.
I think we should make that choice today, and refuse to be small-minded about it.
To that end, I'm starting "The 2020 Project" with my pals at Causecast.org, to ask my peers to thoroughly evaluate their perfect visions for the new decade. To get our brains warmed up and out of that post-Holiday lethargy, this week I'm beginning a series of conversations with the 25 most interesting Millennial leaders I know. For 10 minutes each, I will ask some of the most dynamic people in politics, media and technology to share with us how they'd like to see their industries, our generation and American society evolve over the next 10 years. The interviews will be available for iTunes download and published on Mondays and Thursdays. You can find them compiled here on HuffPost Impact, on Causecast.org and on MaeganCarberry.com.
I've been blessed over the last three years, as a web entrepreneur and blogger, to travel around the country and meet some of the most compelling members of the generation who are taking risks and leading by example. My friends and colleagues whom you are about to meet are Republicans, Democrats, business-owners, filmmakers, bloggers, new media strategists, activists, comedians, journalists, foodies, musicians, veterans, entertainers, and thought-leaders in all the things that they do. I have collected them meticulously for a number of reasons: their fierce patriotism, moral convictions, strong judgment, bold nature, unconventional thinking, raw talent, and - above all else - the ability to think beyond their own worldviews. I hope you will enjoy getting to know them as much as I have, and that they will inspire you to make your own contribution to our collective future.
Among the many inspiring things our president said in 2008, I was struck by two things in particular that I've decided to carry with me regardless of how I may feel about his various policies now that he's in office. First, he said: "People don't want to be against something, they want to be for something." He also said, "We're not going to settle for what the world is, we're going to strive for what it might be."
I truly believe that within our generation is the power to alter paradigms that have held us back. There's no need to skulk under your covers this morning in fear of facing another workweek in another year that will pass us by. Today is our generation's best day as Americans, because we don't have to passively react to the rules established by our parents, teachers, bosses, mentors and elders. We have arrived, and we can decide in our decade what we're for, and what the future might be.