A lifetime can encompass a great many social, technological and environmental changes.
My late father, born in 1919, experienced both directly and indirectly four major wars, industrialization, the rise of the automobile and it’s influence in American society, man’s first visit to outer space and the moon, the birth of rock-and-roll, telecommunications, household b&w and color TV’s, and social changes forged by the computer, both personally and in business — just to name a few.
I look at this elderly Italian woman, in the above photo, watching down an alley a portion of her world pass by. In this image she is framed by an archway — her view, looking out upon a busy street, would also be framed, much like looking through a viewfinder. I doubt she found me as interesting as I found her.
She has lived through many of the same years as my father but her experiences of the same major events are from an entirely different view point and one’s personally her own. I wonder how she would reflect upon the changes in her own world and the way they influenced her life and future.
I approach this subject reflecting on many of the experiences I’ve had in my own life — not of reliving the past in any manner, but more so in determining/understanding where I am and how I got here with an eye towards a future I’d like to influence as I move into retirement. Bonnie and I are expecting our first two grandchildren later this year so perhaps this has also stirred some of these thoughts on my self-relevance in this world.
For most of my life I’ve seen the future as being bright and hopeful — opportunities undiscovered as well as social and technological advancements yet to come. Sadly, not so much these days.
For the first time since WWII my generation is facing the possibility that we might have had a brighter future then many of our children or grand-children may have.
It’s a period of deep change with a new world order bringing to light many, many problems for mankind to solve both socially, economically and environmentally.
In the U.S. we’re no longer an island where we can independently control our own future…today, where the world goes so do we — although some don’t recognize this as yet. At the moment we have a nearly, some would say completely, non-functional government and for the first time in our recent history there are those who are openly trying to buy the office of the President of the United States.
As part of these efforts by a privileged few to control the many, legal voters are being denied the right or convenience of voting in upcoming national elections and there’s a climate of fear being openly fostered leading to resentment, hatred and discrimination against those not of the “right” religion, race, sex, sexual orientation or birth place. Not that this small-minded thinking hasn’t always existed beneath the surface, for it has, but it’s sad the ignorant and their fear are being used to grant power and wealth to those who will least represent them. Not exactly the idea our founding father’s had in mind.
However, my mind is not of only doom and gloom. You sometimes have to go through the tunnel’s darkness to get to the light on the other side. I’m sure there were days gone by when my father and this Italian women felt it didn’t look good for their future, and perhaps it wasn’t. ~smile~
I know whatever the immediate future holds for us, for our children, for our countries and the world, it also holds the power and constancy of change — change each and every one of use can perhaps influence for the better. Deep inside I always keep a flame of hope burning and on that I build and make my own choices for the future I wish to experience.
It is indeed exciting times.