2018 has been … well, let’s just say I won’t spend a lot of time looking in the rear view mirror. Instead I’ll be looking to 2019 and the road ahead; visualizing what can lie ahead and do what I can to make it a reality. Let’s imagine what this ‘Perfect World’ could look like.
Imagine if the default was to include … not exclude. Instead of leaning on our race, ethnicity, gender and especially where we live or where we came from; we all looked at ourselves as just citizens of the world – like anyone else, anywhere else.
Imagine if we embraced change and yearned for the future, looking to better – rather grasping for the past, the ways things were (or how we mistakenly thought they were) and obsessing on the word “again.” The future is a blank template, a canvas for creativity; while the past, important as it may be, is a cerebral prison, constrained by the walls of only what has been … not what could be.
Imagine if we were all social seamstresses mending the “safety net of life” for all those around us, rather than sitting by idly as our friends and neighbors fall through the torn fabric of their daily struggles. Everyone adds to the unique tapestry of our community. They all have something to offer – no matter their age or social standing. It’s up to us as individuals, as a community and as a society to find that something, and help them see it and build around it. Not only does their construct benefit them … it benefits us all.
Imagine if we looked at our health and well-being not as a profit center, but as a journey we all go on together throughout our entire lives. The collective “us” is only as strong as each one of us. Our health and well-being does not lie in some building labeled a clinic or hospital, or even on a piece of paper alleging to be insurance. It lives in all of us; in our hearts, and in the civic norms and expectations we use to guide our actions and influences as we create communities of proactive health complete with all the amenities that reflects it.
Imagine if older generations embraced the young and saw them as a source of knowledge, rather than as irrelevant showing indifference and assuming them a threat to their beloved status quo. What if retirement wasn’t thought of as a reward and recreation, but as a way of passing the touch through the mentoring and guidance of the next generation. And also imagine the young not only recognized the knowledge of the elderly … but looked for opportunities to seek it out as part of an assumed succession of civic and social responsibilities and duties.
Imagine if we viewed our children’s education as not the responsibility of the state or other antiquated institution, but as ours and that of those around us in our community. Why would we absolve ourselves from the most important function of our lives, that of preparing our offspring for the future, by turning it over to a system that has shown to be not prepared for the job. While our schools provide a valuable function, it’s us as parents who must show our children the future’s possibilities and keep lit the light of life-long learning and the importance or a never-ending curiosity for all things they encounter.
Imagine if we were immune from the constraints of “so-called” societal norms cemented generations ago. Instead of being shackled by the expectations of “past times behind” – we viewed ourselves free to determine our own fates dictated by our passions and our own definitions of happiness and success.
And imagine, after just finishing an election year and the absurd disconnect between the words of campaign rhetoric and subsequent actions, we don’t immediately fall back into the spectacle of Washington narcissism. The never-ending media-driven horse race of election hypothesizing has left us blind from seeing our civic potential being anything more than a search for that elusive savior who we believe will deliver us from our plights in life (regardless their political persuasion) … real and imagined. The solutions and our future lie within ourselves and those close to us in our neighborhoods and our communities.
2019 is here – and that is my ‘Perfect World’ for it.
Dream I may … but doesn’t everything start with dream.