A dozen years ago, the Y2K bug recently had been defeated. A dozen years before that, Bill Clinton became one of an infamous few presidents to have faced impeachment proceedings. A dozen years before that IBM introduced a laptop computer that used 3.5-inch floppy disks; it wasn't Internet ready because there was no Internet.
It seems you don't have to go back many blocks of 12 years before the times start looking pretty different from how they look today. Go back another three blocks of a dozen years (six blocks from this year) and Harry Truman was president and Joseph Stalin was leader of something called the USSR.
Yogi Berra is credited with saying something like making predictions is difficult, especially about the future (though pioneering nuclear physicist Nils Bohr supposedly has a claim on the strange observation), and that holds true of the future that awaits 12 years from now. At that moment in the future, the generation of students in first grade now will be poised to graduate from high school, and the Class of 2012 will have been making its mark on the world for as many years as they spent in school preparing to make those marks.
High seniors in Harford and Cecil counties will make the transition in the coming days from being the children who are often referred to as our future, to being our present. We in generations old enough to remember a few blocks of a dozen years — the span of a high school senior's education — will be increasingly obliged to turn over the operation of our society to these young people, just as generations past turned it over to us.
It's a slow process when you're looking at it up close, but upon sitting back and reflecting, the time seems to pass as quickly as a summer vacation or a day the beach.
Those who are graduating this year have worked hard to learn the skills they need to make their way in the world, key among those skills has been learning how to learn.
Now it's time for those skills to be put to work. Well, not quite yet. There's still time for parties and senior expeditions. To the Class of 2012, celebrate your accomplishments; the celebration is well earned. But do it safely. The rest of us will be needing people to take over, and that will fall to you.