Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Looking Forward

We were dropping something off at a PR guy's office Monday and there, next to his computer, was an old Remington typewriter and a TV with little subordinate TVs built in that reminded me of those pictures of LBJ in the White House watching multiple screens. Once this was sophisticated office technology. We looked forward to having such things. (Well maybe we would have been pining for an IBM Selectric type ball electric typewriter.) I remember longing to electronic calculator! Yes, I was of the slide rule generation.

At least, back in the day, I was looking forward. I don't find I do that much any more. Not that I live in the past. Not at all. I'm locked firmly in the present.

It's a present where you could be seduced by dreams of one sort or the other, but quickly slide back to the reality of physical decline (yours and other people's) and limited expectations. Being firmly retired (seven years) and barely into my sixties and living as comfortably as we are? Beyond my wildest expectations but not beyond my dreams. I dreamed of fortunes to lavish things on myself and, especially, others---friends and charities.

If only you felt that you were going to stay healthy and wealthy enough to have the imagined gadgets and adventures and didn't feel that there are many things you'll never do or have. The fact that you don't even want some of the things, that's good. But the feeling of limitation isn't always pleasant.

In 2001, after 9/11 I started working on a list of things "I'd never care to do" and things "I one day (still) hope to do or do again." Among the 'nevers?' Ride a motorcycle. Among the "hope to dos?" Travel to every country where women are not subjugated. It seems like a list I ought to work on some more. I'll look forward to that.

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