Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dolphins in the Living Room

Every year my high school paints the last two numbers of that year’s graduating class on the water tower overlooking the town. So, when I graduated in 1991, the water tower’s twenty foot high numbers read, ’91. I remember noticing it one day and wondering how old I’d be when the century turned…oh no, I’d be like…27 years old! Way to old to enjoy the new millennium! Flash forward to New Year’s Eve 1999, the Y2K preparations in place, and I actually had a great time…despite my ‘old age’. It made me think about all of the predictions we made as kids. And how completely grateful I am that almost none of them came true.

I remember a movie I saw when I was a kid. It was a sequel to a space movie set ten years after the first movie. The main character is in his house and as the camera pans around the living room, the guy has dolphins there! Every surface of his house is either shiny white or chrome. Come to think of it, his house resembled my local hospital’s MRI room, actually. The year the movie was supposed to have been set was, you guessed it, 2010. I don’t know about you, but a lot of our future predictions were way off.

As a writer of contemporary romance, I sometimes insert technology into the storyline. This is great fun. For instance, when I wrote my first book ten years ago, it was so high tech to have what was called a personal data assistant. I mean, if yours had a little keypad then you were up there with James Bond in terms of technology. My characters spoke to each other on walkie-talkies, the push-button phone type. I was on the edge! Flash forward again, to now. I read over my old manuscripts and realize they might as well be sending smoke signals compared to the technology my thirteen-year-old has at her fingertips. I obviously had to virtually upgrade everyone. I’m amazed at how much I hadn’t anticipated, and how much I had.

You see, my eighth grade writing teacher wrote each of his students a letter and gave them to us on the last day of school. He told us to open it when we graduated college. I promptly lost mine. I found it some time later and read his message with surprise. He’d predicted, despite my claims that I wanted to be a doctor, that I would become a writer. He said he’d seen the passion for storytelling in my work and predicted that despite my plans, my real calling would come through. Amazing how we cannot see in ourselves what others see plainly. Well, you were right, Mr. Briggs. Good call.

My question to you is this: What surprises has life brought you? How close were your predictions of your adult self? Are you happy you were wrong? Until next time, my friends, you are on my heart and in my prayers.


Carlos said...

You know, reading your post made me think: 1. Where the hell is my hover-board! 2. I'm glad about who I have become. If I had become what I wanted to become when I was a kid, I'd probably be in a scrap yard by now (remember, I wanted to be a Fire Truck! You would always give me grief about that).

Anonymous said...

My head and heart were too overwhelmed with trying to just survive high school, let alone planning for after it! Honestly, I had no predictions. Is that weird? When I graduated high school (to the shock of my parents), I only had a vague idea to graduate from a college and become a teacher. With that I stumbled forward. My beautiful wife, 6 kids, and teaching career are all better than I could have predicted.