Dear Marty McFly,
Well, it’s here, your future. Honestly, I think you are going to be little disappointed.
There are no hoverboards. No self-lacing shoes. No flying cars. None of that cool stuff you were expecting. And trust me, we are all as disappointed as you are. But there are bigger disappointments.
We’ve had some pretty awful things happen since 1985.
There have been wars, numerous wars, where victory has been declared over a pile of helpless bodies. There have been terror attacks, declarations of “strength”, as if strength was measured by one’s ability to slaughter the supposed opposition. We’ve had some terrible world leaders, (I suggest googling George W Bush and Vladimir Putin to start with). There have been famines, and droughts and mass breakouts of disease. There has been a lot of death and hunger and hatred, in neighbourhoods and across nations. There have been shootings and bombings and every –ism you can think of. Our environment has suffered, as have our animals. So much sadness, so much grief, and so much ignorance. Too much to list it all here.
And the worst part is, a lot of this could have been prevented. In most cases, we’ve not been the innocent ones. The truth is, no-one has claim to that word anymore, not even you.
When you hear about all the things that happened in the last 30 years, it’s no surprise you climbed into that DeLorean and skipped ahead, crashed your way through time to now. You missed a lot of terrible things.
But there has also been some pretty great things. And you missed those too.
We’ve made huge strides towards helping people*, decreasing child mortality and global hunger significantly. We’ve cured diseases and made developments in technology that can only improve our chances of curing others. We’ve tumbled walls and we’ve achieved equality for more people (though even this is arguable). We’ve learnt a lot about our world and about the universe far beyond. We’ve made such tremendous art. We’ve learnt a lot about each other. We’ve done our best to ensure our best foot is going forward in the world, even if we have made a tonne of mistakes along the way.
Sure, we’ve still got a lot to do, but there’s a lot to celebrate here. We are still learning, and we’re not giving up.
And there is one thing that I think you will be excited about, the one thing we have that gives us hope.
You see, we still have the whole future ahead of us. The whole big wide open future and all its possibilities floating ever-ahead of us. The future never stops being there, it never stops stretching out and giving us chances to make big things happen that could change everything. And that’s really exciting.
Potentially more exciting than a hoverboard could ever be.
In a world so obsessed with the past, with looking back and getting caught up in immense nostalgia for the past, I want to thank you for reminding me to look ahead, imploring me to remember the future and all its vast and changing possibilities. It was a necessary reminder.
I sincerely wish you all the best, and good luck trying to work it all out. Trust me, all of us still are.
*See this video regarding the Millennium Goals list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5DZF7YvwwM
© Hayley New 2015