The future becomes present becomes past

Destination Moon (1950)

“We’re going to party like it’s 1999” was the answer to Final Jeopardy the other night — Prince’s song was released and hit the pop music charts in 1982, re-released and charted again 17 years later, and a third time 17 years after that.

Of course the song was popular again in 1999, and then after Prince died in 2016.

Each time the song was the same but meant different things — the future in 1982, today in 1999, and memories in 2016.

Today’s future becomes tomorrow’s nostalgia.

Among the songs that were popular when I was a tadpole:

“Gonna save all my money and buy a GTO …”

“Come back when you grow up, girl …”

“We can work it out …”

… I wonder if they did.

The future is upon us before we realize, and most of the time it’s not quite what we expected. (The 1950 movie Destination Moon imagines a moon landing by private-sector scientists in 1962.) Sometimes it’s more than we expect, sometimes it’s less — “What a beautiful wedding,” I imagine, means it was even more sweet than expected.

We all have our expectations, and they shape our reactions.

I suspect the best way to approach the future is with no expectations and accept what happens at face value. Oh, one may (and should) plan for the future, but we need to be ever vigilant to ensure that other people’s plans mesh with ours as gently as possible.

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