In the future… This is this week’s prompt from Finish the Sentence Friday. The future could be next week or next month or next year or fifty years from now. As I am currently in a bit of an anxious mood regarding my physical health, I am more than aware of my finite existence here on earth. This however also got me to buy a book, really to distract myself but it ties in nicely with the theme, about women who survived breast cancer twenty to fifty years past diagnosis. (No, I don’t think I have breast cancer.) Even though I am not the healthiest person in the world, it is very well possible that I’ll live for fifty more years. For this post, I am going to pretend I am 79 and look back at my life.
It is currently 2066. I am 79. I have lived a much longer life than as a twentysomething I expected to. There have been many times I thought I wouldn’t live for another year. Yet here I am in old age.
I look back on a happy marriage with my husband. We have been living in our home in the tiny village for fifty years. When the housing corporation wanted to get rid of it and my husband earned enough money, we bought the house. It now has a bathtub, which was pretty much the only thing I wanted to get added to its interior fifty years ago. Of course, now that I’m old and my mobility is failing, I can’t use it anymore.
I look back on a nice volunteering career for myself. In fact, I still volunteer. I am a language-learning buddy for an immigrant, just like my grandma was when she was my age. I haven’t earned any sort of royal recognition, but that could be because I changed volunterring careers so often I can’t say I’ve served a particular community for long enough. nO, that was a joke. If I live for another twenty years, five months and twelve days, I’ll meet the mayor because of my 100th birthday. I do plan to live that long now that I got this far, just like my grandma did, only without the cognitive decline please.
Speaking of fame though, I did get some international recognition by publishing my memoir. It wasn’t titled Some Former Preemies Will Go to University after all, because that title was ironic, referring to my lack of successful college studies. As it turned out, I did earn a college degree. It was in language and cultural studies at the university I tried studying linguistics at too. The same professor still taught the intro to linguistics class that I had completed half of just before I ended up in the psychiatric hospital in 2007. Since I didn’t go to graduate school, my sister is still the only one of our generation to have earned a Master’s degree. I don’t care about that graduate degree though, as I mostly studied for the fun of it and to prove myself that I could. After graduating, I now regularly attend sit-in classes in education, psychology and sociology. My heart’s still with the social sciences, but I still can’t do statistics.
I just mentioned the psychiatric hospital. It’s a place I’d rather not revisit. Its treatment methods have “advanced” to a level worse than they were 100 years ago. Instead of getting a sembleance of care, psychiatric patients are just drugged into submission. We have better psychiatric drugs now, at least by the sane population’s standards. There are more of them too and much more people taking them, whether they want it or not. Unfortunately, the neurodiversity and mad pride movements are dead now. The curebies got their way. I can’t say society is a better place for it.
Technolgy has evolved quite a bit in the last fifty years, obviously. I can now easily take pictures with a camera that gives me spoken directions. Oh, this probably doesn’t sound that advanced to my 29-year-old self, but it opened quite the world to me. There are great imaging tools that work with screen readers now. Still doesn’t sound advanced, but I lost pace with technology several decades ago. Even though I was pretty tech savvy as a teen, I was quite a bit behind fifty years ago already, let alone now. Thankfully, I did learn to use a smartphone or I would’ve lost track much sooner than I did. My husband still keeps pace with technology, of course. He’s 77 now and “drives” an autonomous car. He didn’t like it at first, but now that he’s getting old himself, he finds it quite relaxing.
As I look back to 2016, I’m glad I made the choices I made that year. It took more than just 2016 to get physically healthy, but I did set my first steps in the right direction. I also finally left the psychiatric institution. As I said, it isn’t a nice place now, so I’m so glad I left before it deteriorated. Besides, if I hadn’t, I might not have lived this life with my husband.