A New Year, a new decade, though it is not a new century anymore. Suddenly it is 20 years since the millennium. The century has come through its infancy and teens. Now it is poised for maturity.
But it can take a few more than 20 years for people to put early disturbances behind them.
Likewise it may take the 21st century a few more years to move on from the resentments and insecurities of its teenage years. Those had their origins in 2001, 9/11 to be precise, and culminated in the rebellious elections of 2016.
Will the 2020 election in the world's most powerful country produce a better decision than those voters made when the century was just 16? Or will it take four more years to grow up? Meantime, pressing global problems await adult attention.
New Zealand starts 2020 in the middle of another golden summer, the third in succession that began in November and warmed the sea around our northern coasts so quickly we were in the water weeks before Christmas. Decembers of indifferent weather are already just a memory.
The climate has changed and the millennial generation is trying to put the subject more forcefully on the political agenda. Last year young people staged school strikes and demonstrations demanding steps be taken before it is too late to stabilise the planet's climate for their generation and those that follow them.
Will this be the year that their voice is heard, or will the century be older and hotter before their age group gains enough electoral weight?
Technology might help them by reducing carbon emissions with electric vehicles and less daily traffic. Technology has been developing so fast this century that it is quite possible petrol-fuelled transport will have practically disappeared by the end of the 2020s and many more people will work from home most of the time.
It is possible productivity gains from digital applications will have given us a four-day working week by the end of the decade. People will have more time at last for the social life and entertainments available through their phone. Will we still carry phones in 2029, or wear digital implants?
Will we still remember how to converse face-to-face? will we even see anybody we know apart from those in our household most days? Will our entire social life be on screen? If we physically travel at all, will it be in driverless cars by the end of this decade? Will they come on call and will we be amused to remember when we built garages at home for an expensive machine that stood idle for 22 hours a day? Quite possibly. Might we also have developed an etiquette for phone use? Will reading a phone in company become rude? Will we watch where we walk?
More important, will we have discovered that what is on screen is not what is real for people in love, and that the reality is better?
The 20s are an exciting time in human life, when careers and commitments usually begin. Let's begin an exciting decade with a Happy New Year.