“Why Am I at @Starbucks?” #2: Thinking of 2033

I’m still in the process of creating a better future for myself. Today I’m over at Starbucks across from UNCC. I’m thinking about the kids who attend this place and wonder where they’ll be 20 years from now. Surely some will start assuming reins of civic and corporate power 20 years from now. Those young elected leaders and executives will have done so, most likely, because they’re paying their dues right now – partying less, working on themselves more.

20 Years from now, it’ll be a few days into 2033 and I’ll be 59 going on 60 in March. I consider that 1993 is so unrecognizable to today and wonder what our world will be like 20 years into the future. The guy sitting to my left looks like he could be 21 or 22. He’s plugged in to his iPad and reviewing a collaborative Google Drive spreadsheet as it takes shape before his eyes. I’d yet to set up and email account in 1993 and had no idea what a browser was but now this guy beside me is working on spreadsheet with at least one other person who’s at who-knows-where.  I wonder what this guy to my left will be like in 20 years. Today he’s having fun with a Spreadsheet, so does that mean he’ll be some sort of leading accountant? Will he be married to some woman (or man) and have a nice family. Maybe things don’t go so well for this guy. Could he turn out to be someone, at 42, who once showed great promise but now has nothing to show all because he pissed away his opportunities? The choice is his. If he lacks the psychology see the importance of having a purposeful, ethical, and moral vision for his life now, he’s likely to face a tough consequences for the rest of his 20s and 30s.

Now I look at the coffeehouse floor and think of all the people here. I see so many of us in so many walks of life. A few are here interacting. The rest of us are to ourselves studying, thinking, or perhaps sitting on cusp of a great conservation summoning up the courage to say “Hello.”

In this day and age, randomly saying Hello to people and being friendly seems weird, weirder than it should – at least it is to me. 20 years from now will we even less of us be friends? Will even more of us feel isolated as we sip our drinks from behind the comfort of our devices? I imagine a deficit of personal connection over the next bi-decade. I see more people circulating in public spaces while living simultaneously living inside their digital bubbles. Perhaps the future belongs to those who take this time to leverage technology to help drive more face-to-face, deeply personal, lasting relationships – but I’m blogger not a forecaster, so don’t take my word for it.

However, I find it most interesting that from my studies of historical figures, those who’ve discovered in themselves the constant discipline it takes to exercise genuine concern and charity to help their neighbors have, over time, harnessed enough energy to bring aide, comfort and uplift to the masses. Something about that idea intrigues me. If I can figure out how to keep it’s constant mantle balanced on my shoulders, I wonder who I’ll be in 2033 and exactly what I’ll be doing. One thing’s for sure: I will not be surprised if it somehow involve sipping a Tall Pike at my local Starbucks.

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