The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Looking Back Over 55 Years

It's my birthday. I've made half a century plus five and I'm looking back. Boring? We'll see.

That's a pretty fair stretch of history. A lot has changed on the technology front.

When I was in Junior High, I was amazed by the big video cassette machine (top loading) and wondering if those things would get out of schools and into homes. Boy, did they ever.

The Texas Instrument calculator came out, answering my wish for a "magic pencil" that could do my math.

The US manned space program took us from Earth orbit to the Moon ... before parking it in LEO ... but even that took us from the small Skylab to the massive International Space Station, proving many nations working together could accomplish something other than warfare and self-serving economic treaties. Amazing (I know, I'm being harsh there, but hey it's my birthday)!

In unmanned spaceflight we have toured the solar system and found its outer limits. Our space telescopes have taken us back about as far as we can go.

I read a lot of science fiction growing up and watched a lot as well ... Star Trek (original series) and it has come a long way too. I was a 2001: A Space Odyssey snob until Star Wars came along and blew me away. Now we have CGI and telling the real from the computer generated is getting to be quite the challenge. We also had a resurgence of 3-D movies ... and ... well, some things just don't change that much.

We've seen some great strides in this nation's campaign for better equality for women and minorities ... but we still have a long way to go. I've seen the "American Dream" spun in the 1950s, told to wide-eyed me in the 1960s and swallowed whole with its shiny promises (be good, get a college education, get that good job and be set for life and your paid retirement as a thank you for your efforts ... yeah it was kind of delivered like that ... sort of Mad Men style) turn into the "American Dream Snatched" by the 1980s. Today I heard a business newscast about extending the work years way past 65. Uh huh!

But, let's not jog off into the land of the negative today. I grew up. I have a wonderful family, a loving wife, two kids we adore and who love us right back and are growing up into really impressive adults. I've gained so much, been blessed by God in so many ways, and am in my third (final?) career in a path that took me from archaeology to publishing to ministry. There have been many trials along the way, losses of loved ones and friends for all the expected reasons who I miss a lot, but there have also been great joys that I treasure. At this point I look ahead with wonder and hope, despite what comes through on the news daily or perhaps because I've seen 55 years of that come and go. I'm looking forward to what comes next, tempered knowing loss will accompany joy in equal measure, but wanting to see what happens anyway.

Wishing you joy today and welcome surprises tomorrow.

Update: In 55 years I have gone from wanting presents on my birthday to craving presence for my birthday. Family and friends me far more to me now than any tangible object as a gift. 

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