What will life look like in 50 years, I wonder? I’ll be 84, God-willing, and probably moving slowly in a very fast world. The rate with which life changes on this planet never ceases to astound me.
I’m sure in 1963 people never dreamed within 50 years nearly everyone they knew would have cell phones and be texting, and spending a great deal of time in cyberspace daily. I know my husband is particularly fond of his Ipod, which at the touch of a button gives him access to 20,000 songs. Yet in 1963, he would have had to tow around a record player and thousands of records behind him for that kind of selection -- a little awkward for a light jog around the track.
There are also millions of girls who would hate to return to life without a hair straightener, which really wasn’t that long ago. I remember straightening my hair with fancy blow dry techniques and a curling iron. Now that I can straighten my hair with ease, I prefer it wavy. Go figure. I do, however, appreciate simple luxuries like clumping cat litter, and an enclosed litter box for my cat who loves to creatively shower my basement with her litter. Daily.
There have also been significant advances in medicine, increasing our longevity and helping to prevent and cure many diseases that once claimed the lives of many. And many advances have even helped forensics experts assist police in reopening and solving very old cases, allowing for the capture of criminals who had previously escaped justice.
How about anti-smoking campaigns? All the information and laws we have now ensure that people aren’t needlessly inhaling second-hand toxins. Fifty years ago it was acceptable to smoke in restaurants, planes, schools and even hospitals! It was in 1963, exactly 50 years ago, that Canada’s Minister of Health and Welfare announced the dangers of smoking in the House of Commons. Fast forward to now; Life is very different and there are fewer and fewer smokers every day.
There have been so many changes and inventions, it would take days to list them all. We have truly lived in an age of wonder, where the impossible has become possible right before our very eyes.
All of these advances leave me hopeful for what humans will create next. We have the potential and the technology to help us combat things like: poverty, hunger, lack of potable water, over-population, the extinction of animals, an energy crisis and climate change.
That’s not including those ever-imminent terrorist threats, which aren’t necessarily limited to Middle Eastern countries. Such threats include: armed conflict, proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the spread of communicable diseases (which can be an act of terrorism when deliberately released).
I think everyone’s priorities will be different in addressing all the above concerns, as well as any others that I haven’t listed. Perhaps that’s a good thing. We need the efforts of many because no one person has all the answers. It will take diverse strengths, passion, expertise and collective energy to find solutions.
It’s tough to say any one item is more important than the other, because my priorities would most likely focus on poverty, hunger, clean water and climate change, but those are hard to address when you’ve just been fried by a nuclear attack. It’s also hard to focus on an energy crisis when a deadly virus is spreading throughout your country with rapid speed. So they are all inter-connected, and will require different people and different strategies.
I can’t speak for anyone else, and can only imagine what my life will look like. I’m hoping we can find solution to our problems, so that I can rest easy when I leave this earth. But you never know, 84 might be the new 34 then, and seeing as I live a pretty healthy life now, I might still be doing handstands and splits then, freaking out my great grandchildren and simultaneously entertaining myself.
We cannot be afraid of change, because it’s coming anyway. However, we have the power to influence great change, rather than waiting to see what fate deal us. We are lucky to be part of a generation of amazing thinkers and daring, courageous people. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What issues will you focus your energy on? What will your life look like 50 years from now?