Friday, June 29, 2012

That I'm living my future

Okay, all you 80s movie fans, we are living in the very time, almost to the exact day, in which Marty McFly was supposed to have zoomed to the future in Part Two of "Back to the Future." I can clearly remember watching those movies as a teenager when Michael J Fox was my pin-up boy. My ambition was to be a fiction author. 2012 sounded very far away, I remember thinking, By then, I'll be a middle-aged person with a family and career and had a giggle because seemed really weird. With this clearly in my memory, it was quite a surreal feeling last night, when I sat at my computer checking Face Book. I thought, Here I am, living in the future the old me was wondering about. I have got the hubby and kids and I've written books too. I've done what I set out to do and I now tend to think of early 40s as still quite youngish rather than 'middle aged' which is a deplorable term some young whipper snapper came up with years ago.

I'm fascinated with time because I love to know how things are going to end. I remember waiting for the next Harry Potter book to released, and then the next, and sometimes they took years. On the morning when the seventh was due to be released, I made it my top priority to drive straight to K-Mart to buy my copy. I didn't listen to well-intentioned people who would say, "Wait for a few months and then it will be cheaper." Good heavens, I always watch my pennies but this is Harry Potter! So I brought it home and took turns devouring it as quickly as possible with Logan, who was then about 12.

Recently, I've been watching episodes of the sitcom, "How I met your mother" and the same thing is happening. I want to find out the identity of the elusive girl Ted ends up marrying and there is stil at least one more season to be filmed before they'll reveal it, even though I really want to know if the hints I think I've been picking up turn out to be true.

Most of all, it'd be interesting to have a few more glimpses of my own future. Who will my kids end up marrying? Where will they work and live? What other books will I write? I have to be patient and let it unfold as it will.

Looking back through history, I find the technology advances from 1900 to 2000 phenomenal. The twentieth century was really the start of the fulfillment of that time predicted by the prophet Daniel when he said there will be vast increases of knowledge and men and women will rush here and there. I'd love to witness the threshold of 2100 and reflect on all that's happened in the twenty-first century too but I'm pretty sure I won't be there for that one unless they discover some health tonic that will help people eke out their age to 130. Even Blake, my youngest child, will be 96 if he makes it. How frustrating because I REALLY WANT TO KNOW! I echo the sentiments of the guys who are calling out, "We want a time machine?" When? "That's irrelevant."

I guess one of the things that suits me about writing fiction is that I can control, to some extent, how other people's stories are going to unfold. I've been taken on soap opera roller-coasters in the past, drawn into TV drama until I realise, to my disgust, that the writing has to be based around the plans actors make for their own lives. If they decide to leave the show, their beloved characters tend to have their lives brutally cut short. Enough already! I want to be responsible for having my hand in the destiny of at least somebody I can be reasonably kind to when I arrange their circumstances.

Last night I started wondering whether I have any secrets of time I can share. As a 15-year-old in 1985 when Marty was meant to have left his present world, I thought I was pretty smart and assumed my 42-year-old self would have founts of wisdom. Not wanting to let my teenage self down, I thought of a few observations I've picked up over the last twenty-seven years. They aren't from books but things I've learned honestly through living my life.

1) When you make plans and pin your hopes on their fulfillment, your deepest longings have a way of flittering off as if they're frightened away by the strength of your desire. Yet God has a way of bringing awesome surprises when you least expect them. I've shared a few of mine during the time I've been working on this blog. Going to live in the Adelaide Hills, being introduced to my future husband, having a third baby when I thought our pigeon-paired family must be complete, getting publishing contracts, winning an award for a contest I'd forgotten entering, having a comfy, spacious home suddenly become available. So we mustn't pin any hopes on specific demands being fulfilled but expect the unexpected.

2) Longings for fame, fortune and anything to do with human praise and positive feedback is a dangerous narcotic. I was already hooked on it back in 1985 and stayed that way for many of the intervening years. A little bit of what you crave is never enough and being addicted to anything brings misery. Praise addiction leaves a bitter aftertaste after the initial intoxicating ego rush has subsided. You've succeeded in making yourself feel 'different' and 'special' for a fleeting bit of time and it eventually dissipates leaving a bigger hole for self-pity and dissatisfaction to fill. A good way of knowing whether you're addicted to any specific demand is asking yourself whether you could still be happy without it.

Have you any wisdom or personal principles you've learned through your years of living? I'd love to hear them. I feel as if I've only scraped the surface on all I want to say about time but this blog post is long enough.


  1. I love my time machine, which only travels backwards (my imagination). LOL I can't imagine what we will find in our future - the mind boggles. :)

  2. Now if I really had a time machine I think I'd stop it right now. Before I get dementia and while I'm old enough to not have my heart broken when things don't turn out the way I'd planned!

    I have to agree with you expect the unexpected. God has a way of doing that with our lives as He knows what's best for us.

  3. I think the most important thing I've learned in sixty years is the power of love. Real love. Strong, unwavering, unconditional love is the most amazing power on the planet.
    I enjoyed your post Paula. Last year I wrote in entry in a writing comp that had to be set in 2031. I made my mind stretch. Maybe that's a challenge for all of us. Write a short story set in the future!

  4. Thanks ladies,
    Maybe it's a good thing we won't know. Our brains might not be able to take it. Jo, I love your most important lesson.

  5. Hmmm ... I need to think about this (it's far too late tonight for any heavy thinking). How interesting to realize that you are living in the future you imagined! I know for a fact that I had absolutely no idea or even a plan for my future. Not my strong point!

  6. Hi Kate,
    It was late when that occurred to me too. Like you, the future from here on is a mystery, but it was certainly strange to suddenly think, "Here it is, the future." I could so clearly remember pondering around now, as a teenager.


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