It’s true that when you’re young you live more ‘in the moment’, making it very difficult to see the road ahead. Today, we tell the kids “you have to save, you have to plan for the future, etc”, while at the same time trying as hell to live more like them, more ‘in the moment’. Go figure! My dear wife has a theory about time, how it’s perceived differently depending on your age, and it fits the facts perfectly. Try to tell a young person to wait for any amount of time, and you’ll see what I mean. For a very young person, 5 minutes can be an eternity, because it is compared against the amount of time that person has been alive. Your age determines your time horizon. Anyway, I remember how hard it was to visualize the future when I was a teenager. I could barely see into the next week, and summer vacation couldn’t come any sooner!
In the seventies, I did try to imagine what it would be like in the year 2000, but that was so far into the future, and of course I couldn’t picture anything that far away. I remember a few times, maybe while sitting in class, daydreaming about what the future could be. On one occasion, I had recently watched Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey, and that became the vision of what I believed my future could be. Incidentally, this was the first movie I went to without my parents, and it was weird that I was able to go with my older brother. I really didn’t get the first part of the movie then.
So, my visions of the future were of flying cars, global governments, Utopian societies, and free energy – I did think we’d by on Mars by now. One thing I notice as I write is that my visions, although somewhat vague, were very positive – I never thought the world would come to an end, or the race destroy itself. I also thought we’d have the oil situation resolved by moving to solar power or fusion. As for where I thought I would be, or what kind of life I would have, I couldn’t see that too well either – I didn’t know how to visualize properly, and I was ‘really’ in the moment and didn’t care to look forward. I guess I was really busy living my life. I wanted to be a pilot, but I guess my fear of heights didn’t help there.
Anyway, I guess we’re not where I thought we’d be. Yet, 25 years later, my spirit is still hopeful, hopeful for my children’s future. I hope they share the same free and exciting vision of their future that I had of mine back then, and are able to escape a duller ‘present’, 30 years down the line.