As a kid back in the mid-20th Century, my one major goal was to make it to the 21st Century. I figured that would be far enough into the future to experience some of the incredible changes science was promising us all; to get me to that state of the alleged Chinese blessing, "May you live in interesting times!"
Of course, as a kid, I didn't realize that expression wasn't Chinese. Nor was it a blessing. It was a curse! But that was all right too, because youth is most always tempted by conditions offering an element of daring and danger that challenge their comfort zones. So if the future with its unknown manifestations held some potential dangers, "Alright, bring it on!"
My wish to make it to a place with many unknowns held the promise of some excitement for my future. Kids have a reputation for often doing crazy or stupid things, I suppose. Pre-frontal lobes of their brains have not yet fully matured, likely explaining why young men and women make the best soldiers -- they haven't fully grown into their common sense.
I know making generalizations like that are arguable. "How do you explain mature adult's actions so wrought with danger and daring like those of a George Bush or Dick Cheney?" one might ask. But I'm speaking to normal adult human maturations, not aberrant sociopathic ones. But I digress.
So my wishing to live into the next millenium to experience "interesting times" seemed relatively tame in light of some of the craziness around me and my peers so absorbed in youthful moments. Now however, having arrived in the future, I'm not so sure how tame my desire to experience it was.
Sure, the next forty years cruised along pretty routinely with wars (mostly unnecessary), assassinations, and natural disasters seasoned with unnatural, man made ones as well.
There was the exciting moment when modern man first stepped on another heavenly body as millions watched below. That was almost a decade after he nearly fried himself in a US - USSR nuclear annihilation.
But as kids our main concerns were girls, money and cars. Occasionally we'd think about the future and sometimes dream. One in particular I remember was the fantasy of making it to the year 2000, of having amassed $100,000. (My dream was modest.) As a friend and I imagined, at 6% the $500/month income it would provide for the rest of forever, while not wealth, would leave us very, very comfortable. We'd never have to work again!
Now, 50 years later, here I am. Living in the future. The $100,000 at 6% fantasy obviously didn't allow for inflation. That aside, where can one earn 6% without more risk than I'm willing to take in increasingly riskier financial markets.
I admit, over the decades since boyhood, I became lulled into a sense of an unending status quo, that my wish as a kid would not happen. But with the turn of the century, things have really heated up. In retrospect, I now realize since 2001 I, indeed, have gotten my wish. I do live in interesting times!
What's far more exciting, the immediate future looks to be getting even more interesting. Far more than anything I wished or bargained for as a kid, I fear.
Stay tuned. The future sure ain't what it used to be!