It is a sobering thought to think that I probably will not live to see the year 2045. This is not news to anyone who can do the math. But I think back to the last century, to the distance between the beginning of World War I and the end of World War II (1914 – 1945). What a lot of change the world saw in those years! We went from horses to cars to air travel. Art and literature changed how we see the world. The Depression came and went. Hitler came and went, as did all the great European empires. Income tax was introduced. The Titanic had gone down just before, and with it, the end of an era. And yet it was such a short time span!
What will happen between now and 2045? Already, we have added the internet to our lives in the last 20 years. What new surprises await us?
Having a deadline is nice. It means I am less likely to procrastinate about writing and about my Zen practice. Maybe I’ll even get organized about exercise again. It also means that whatever usefulness and meaning I want my life to have in its last third, it really has to manifest itself soon.
Any ideas? How can you use me for the better? What can I contribute out of all the experience I’ve acquired? Can I make even a small corner of the world a better place?
The older we get, the smaller our scope of attention. We take less of the daily grind for granted. By 2045, if I am still alive, I’m quite sure my focus will barely extend beyond my bed and my chair. I’ll probably be blind and deaf and arthritic. I will not be “seeing” the world around me. Mine will have shrunk to a miniscule size. But computers may enable me to broadcast even that tiny world to outer space, if in fact, there is anyone left who knows who I am or cares.
Meanwhile, I stay in touch with you all via the internet, a startlingly powerful invention I never would have suspected would have brought me so close to so many people worldwide. In 1981, we rented a room in our house to a young man who worked at Bell Labs with my husband. Phil brought home reams of paper every week with holes punched out of the sides and jokes written on the pages — exactly the same jokes we still pass around today. He built a computer in our basement, and then filled it up with recipes, even though he only cooked nachos. Wherever our old oven is, it probably still has burned cheese at the bottom. We really couldn’t think of any serious use for this “internet” thing or for his computer.
And yet, here we are! Who knows what the next 42 years will bring? What do you think? Let me know your predictions!