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What Barbie Taught Me About the Future

As we age, we all find ourselves inexorably moving forward in time, with the future constantly looming before us. While some may dread the march of time, I, on the other hand, look forward to the future. This positive outlook helps me savor the present, cherishing each day, every encounter, and even the darkest moments. I don't see these moments as fleeting, lost forever, but rather as stepping stones toward the future. By keeping an eye on what lies ahead, I've cultivated a keen sensitivity and deep appreciation for the fleeting nature of our existence.


It's essential to acknowledge that we can't truly live in the moment because moments, by their very nature, are transitory. Time flows relentlessly, sweeping us along with it. But let's not get sidetracked.


The future, with its distant horizon full of promise, never fails to captivate my imagination. However, my fascination extends beyond mere wonderment; it carries a sense of responsibility. I see myself as a guardian of the time yet to be granted to me.


My first significant influence on the concept of the future came from Alvin Toffler's groundbreaking book, "Future Shock." I still frequently reflect on his insightful example of Barbie, the iconic doll, to illustrate how the pace of the future is accelerating, and we must learn to adapt and embrace change. In the 1960s, Barbie was already the world's best-selling doll, but Mattel, Barbie's manufacturer,


decided to introduce a new and improved version.


This new Barbie had real hair and a twist-and-turn waist. Mattel's marketing move was sheer genius – they offered those who already owned a Barbie a trade-in allowance if they wanted the "new and improved" Barbie. Toffler argues that Mattel unintentionally taught a crucial lesson to the children of the '60s about how to thrive in the "world of tomorrow." To flourish in the future, one must shed the idea of permanence; nothing remains the same, and change is the new constant.


A more recent book that has provoked me to ponder the future is "The Hundred-Year Life," written by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. They propose that we should not view our longer lives as merely being "older longer" but rather as an opportunity to live "younger longer." This perspective is profoundly enlightening.


Even more profound is the reality that my grandson will likely live well past 100. This realization instills in me a great sense of responsibility toward him and his generation, who will witness the dawn of the 22nd century.


So, as a Never-Too-Later, the audacious goals I set have a deeper meaning to me than mere checkboxes on a future bucket list. They represent a quest for discovery, enlightenment, and the legacy I want to leave for those I love and for the next generation. The future is where we all head, and I intend to make the most of it, leaving behind a trail of inspiration for those who follow.


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