Monday, March 7, 2011
The Future Isn't What It Used to Be
There was a time when the future was a place, a place I was going to.
I had to plan for it, think about, strategize it, implement it, refine it, rethink it and plan again – but it was indeed a place. This place was usually associated with accomplishing something – an achievement, an award, a recognition, a milestone, a promotion.
I wasn’t so foolish as to think that accomplishing something would bring happiness, fame, wealth and contentment – I had learned that lesson in college.
But I was still reaching. Part of that reaching included having a family, finding gifts I could use, get a Master’s degree, in effect assembling the pieces of what I thought, or my wife and I thought, should be were we wanted to go.
Something changed, though. Exactly when I can’t say. The future stopped being a place or destination. It became something else.
Was it the day I held my first-born, my second-born?
Was it the day I held my grandson?
Was it the day I biked to the Chain of Rocks Bridge in north St. Louis, biked up the bridge and looked south to see the city in the hazy distance?
Was it when I saw the Lincoln Memorial at night?
Or the day I sat in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London and considered all the royal enemies lying buried beneath my feet?
Was it the day I wrote a poem, a poem that affected me far more than I could understand, and I knew I never would?
Perhaps it was the day my first journalism professor wrote “not bad for a cub” across the top of my assignment.
Or the day my father died.
Or the day my heart was joined to my wife’s, or the day my soul was claimed for eternity.
Whenever it was, whatever day it was, the future changed from a place to the real. And I found myself, find myself, living more and more in the real, and learning that the real matters so much more, more than I ever could have known.
The future isn’t what it used to be.
And that’s good.
This post is submitted to the One Word Blog Carnival on “future” over at Peter Pollock’s place. To see more posts, please visit the site.
Photograph: Stone Tile Wall Background by Andrew Schmidt via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.