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Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

Being a person who tries hard to stay in the moment, to give my full attention to each day that is granted to me, I try not to dwell on the past (unless it’s a pleasant memory) or think too much about the future, which, despite plans, is not really under my control.

If I go back or forward, do I have to stay there? Or do I get to glimpse it, and then return to the present? Will I be the same age if I go forward or backward? If I don’t get a round trip ticket, my answer would have to be, “No, thank you.”

The only reason I would like to see the future is because I will not live forever. At 66, there is not doubt that I am “getting up there”, and while I’m active and in excellent health, things can change in a heartbeat — that’s true for anyone I guess — but each year age will have a greater impact on what I can and want to do.

What I would most like to see in the “real” future is my grandchildren (0-17) grown into adults. I know them now, and they already have distinct personalities, but they also have promise, and I’d like to see that fulfilled. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will choose “the right paths”; people, whether they intelligent, well-brought-up, or religious, can fall by the wayside and get themselves into serious problems. Sometimes serious problems will befall them. How will the character they are developing now carry them through?

Hopefully I will live long enough to see some of this without the benefit of peeking into the future via a time machine. I’ll continue to play the grandmother, seeking those special moments when I can pass down to them some lessons and truths I’ve learned on my bumpy road to adulthood. I’m never preachy — I wait for the right time to inject some morsel of wisdom, or discuss things with them that they’re brought up. Telling children what do do or how they should behave or think is rarely successful in the long run.

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