Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Do you ever feel you were born in the wrong time? I do sometimes. I feel like I am stuck in a culture and a time that doesn't inspire or move me. Had I been born in the 1920's I would have fought in World War 2. I would have been part of the greatest generation. I would have toughness that I don't possess now. I would have more resolve and more passion. Sure, life would have been challenging and not guaranteed especially if I had to fight in that war, but it also seemed healthier. It feels like life now is a lot less healthier even though medicine and science may keep us alive longer. What we gained in years we've lost in intelligence, depth, and compassion.

If I was born in 1877, instead of 1977 I would have been born 19 years before the first car in the US was built, 26 years before the first plane ever flew. I would have lived during the time of Mark Twain. I'd be seven when Huckleberry Finn was first printed and published. I'd see the end of the horse and buggy. I'd be 52 when the Great Depression hit and crippled the US and world economy. Would I have been in a soup kitchen? Would I have the mental resolve to bounce back? Would life then have prepared me for those challenges?

How about forty years earlier? If I was born in 1837 instead of 1877, I'd have been 11 when the California Gold Rush struck. If my family lived east (which most did in that time) would they have taken the trek out west? Could we have ended up like the Donner party in 1846? Stuck in the mountains and snowed in forced to make those horrible decisions. If we stayed east I'd have been 24 when the Civil War began. I'd be fighting against a divided country with vastly different philosophies on how their lives should be.

What about 1777? That would be a year after we claimed Independence from England. I would be a baby in a baby of a country. I would be ten when the US Constitution was adopted. I'd be 11 when George Washington was elected our first President. And if born just 20 years earlier I'd be fighting for Independence against England.

Even my parent's generation had the 1960's. They had Vietnam. They had Haight Ashbury and free love. They had Woodstock. They watched man's first steps on the moon.

We've had 9/11. I'm not sure how many of us still even now the impact that's had on us. We are in two wars, but seem so far away from them. We live in a 24 hour news cycle and stalk celebrities. We tear people down to build ourselves up. We count down events. First Y2K, the supposed end of computers as we knew them. Now 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and supposed cataclysmic world event. We reach back for yesterday to explain our tomorrow because we don't know where we are going. We grasp history to explain our financial crises because we don't know how to fix them ourselves. We have more information and technology at our fingertips, we can learn more than any of our ancestors ever dreamed of knowing and we lie idle. We are overwhelmed. We crave the horse and buggy. We crave the log cabin and fireplace and classic book, maybe Huckleberry Finn? Because our minds don't move as fast as this world is moving us.

I worry about the next ten years. Maybe we cling to the idea of 2012 because we can't see what exists afterwards. We keep looking for the end because no one knows where this ship is sailing. We ride until they tell us to get off. I just wonder if I should even be on it or if I was supposed to be on the Mayflower.

No comments:

Post a Comment