Living forward

When I was young I thought it was normal that my grandparents’ (Edna and Grev Wiggs) house looked like ours. They had a few interesting items scattered about, but otherwise all the equipment and so forth was up to date.

As I grew older I increasingly understood that this was not normal. That Japanese doll-set in the cabinet was obtained on a visit there before anyone else realised what Japan was to become. The TV was the latest in a line that started with the first in the area. The kitchen that was my height was especially designed to be lower for my grandmother, who was just shy of 5 feet. My grandfather was jogging well before it was mainstream. And so on — they basically lived, and quite deliberately it seems, in the future.

This is something that we discussed as a family during the time between my grandfather’s passing and his funeral, and we found that this trait (along with other traits) is something that has passed through the family to the grandchildren. At least three of my generation are heavily afflicted with the need to live in the future, and I would not be surprised to see cousins Kim or Mikkel match or beat the score below.

>One bit of evidence is the three year old How Millennial are You quiz? Millennials are defined by Pew Research as those born after 1980. Times have changed since the survey in 2010, but I suspect that my answers would have been similar back then. I did bend the rules a little and count Twitter DMs as texts, but they are directly substitutable after all. I suspect most readers of this will also find themselves way across to the right.

For reference I was born just to the right of the red dot marked 33.

What does this mean?

  • It means that we can deliberately choose to live the life of people younger than ourselves, without sacrificing the benefits of being older.
  • It also means that people find it increasingly difficult to keep up with he new generations, as they age, which explains adoption curves by age. Some of my parents’ friends do not have computers, and never will despite another potential 25 years left to live.
  • It means that we should make sure that the leaders of our businesses and society include a good dose of people who are living in the future, whether they are older or younger, they need to be represented at the table.
  • It means that I don’t feel so bad about playing video games on my iPad. (One benefit of being older is higher income, which makes it easier for me to purchase the toys required to participate in the younger generation’s activities.)

The survey is already wildly out of date, just three years later. Where are the questions about videos and photo sharing and time-limited video and photo sharing? The assumption that a social media profile is a differentiator is almost (not quite) laughable, and video content is downloaded now. Even texting is gone if you and your friends have iPhones – it’s now iMessage, if not Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook or Twitter.

And where is music finding? And how or even if people commute or own a car?

But you already know that. I see you are already here in the future.

Published by Lance Wiggs