The Here And Now

By Kathryn

Collage by Kathryn
Collage by Kathryn

Sometimes I freak out about the fact that we’re all just here, going about our daily lives, not usually thinking about how weird it is that we’re even here at all or how our lives today are the result of billions of years of evolution and thousands of years of innovation. Today would look different if most of life on Earth didn’t die 250 million years ago, just like it would look different if Instagram was never invented. Obviously those are two very different examples, but literally everything that has ever happened has changed us and directly or indirectly affected what 2014 will look like. So, feel special that you’re about 13.7 billion years in the making, bb. You have access to more technology than any of your ancestors, you’re alive during the same time as Beyoncé, and you don’t have to worry about smallpox. Hell yeah, no smallpox! This will be our year, took a long time to come.

Looking at just the past few decades is shocking when considering how quickly societies evolve and change. Sixty years ago, married couples were always depicted as sleeping in separate beds on TV. Obviously, television today is slightly less secretive about sex. Spending a few minutes looking at one of like four billion listicles about the 90’s on Buzzfeed will illustrate just how much our culture has changed since even just a decade or two ago (RIP Blockbuster). With how quickly trends come and go and technology is developed, it’s not surprising that we tend to remove ourselves from the past. But when I stop and think about it, it’s crazy weird that we’re still kicking around in the same places where Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra, and fucking dinosaurs once walked. Weirder still is that someday, our descendants will think the same things about 2014. “Remember Justin Bieber?” they’ll say. “He was that weird dude who got arrested for drunkenly skateboarding on to the stage at the 2031 Golden Globes and no one knew why he was there.”

Anyway, that’s just my prediction for what the future will hold for JB. People have always been making predictions about the future. Our world today is basically the same wacked up technological utopia (or dystopia, depending on how you look at it) that a lot of people guessed it would be a hundred years ago. We have the resources to find out any banal fact within seconds–banished forever is the nagging feeling of wondering where you’ve seen that actor before. We can travel to another continent within a day’s time. We are constantly looking at screens. Holograms exist, you guys.

Sometimes when I look at all of the technology that we’ve become reliant on, I get scared that Ray Bradbury was right. When I read Fahrenheit 451 for freshman English, I thought that Bradbury’s predictions were kind of wackadoo. Until I realized that he was totally right about so many things. We haven’t reached a point where books are outlawed, but we’re so obsessed with technology. I always feel a little guilty when I’m with a group of people and there’s a long silent pause when we’re all on our phones instead of talking. Babies are basically born with the knowledge of how to operate an iPad now. This freaks me out, but then I realize that my parents probably thought the same thing about me using computers when I was little.

I probably think about things like this too much, and I don’t really know what to conclude, other than the fact that my place in time is a small one. I find solace in knowing that no other future generations will get to say that they got to be teenagers at the same time as One Direction, just as teenage girls before me probably felt about *NSYNC and teenage girls before them felt about the Beatles. And how teenage girls before them felt about Handel, or whatever. I guess what I’m really saying is that we should start measuring eras by boy bands.

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