Thinking Beyond your Timeframe
I always like to think of myself in the moment, here, today -- as a "bridge" between the me of yesterday and the me of the future. Every day that I inch along, I am evolving away from the person I used to be and I am embodying more of the person I am becoming: today is a day where I bridge the gap, where I bring myself simultaneously away from my past self and closer to my future self.
If you're already thinking of your life as one continuous story that gets played out daily, I encourage you to think a little bigger, a little deeper, and a little wider. Think beyond your current timeframe. Think beyond the boundaries of your own lifespan. Think towards the seventh generation from now, like the Native Americans do.
Your ancestors, who lived many hundreds and thousands of years ago, made choices upon choices that changed their lives and ultimately led to your fortunate arrival on the planet. Who they dated, who they married, where they chose to live, their occupation, their friends, their spiritual beliefs, even the type of dental care they took -- each of these played some small part in your conception and birth.
Your descendants, who will live (hopefully) many hundreds and thousands of years from today, will have certain opportunities available to them. While you cannot dictate with whom they will spend time, on what planet they will live, or what they will do during their work and leisure time, you are making some small steps today that will pre-determine the options they have and the type of life they will be able to lead.
Our lifetime is the bridge between that of our ancestors and our descendants.
Our grandparents, great-grandparents, and generations of predecessors lived and died according to their beliefs and values --- some of that has filtered down to you and your kin today. How will you pass your own core understanding and knowledge forward to the next generations to come?
By stretching our understanding of what we are here to do, we can think of ourselves in continuity with others. Our planet remains long beyond our own lifetime: how do we choose to act, knowing that we have limitations? We may choose to ignore the future, and only focus on living "in the moment". That only gets us to our current situation of challenge with our water, soil, oceans, atmosphere, and livable space. If we choose to think about ourselves beyond our lifespan, and instead stretch our understanding to think about a 200-year period, or even a 500-year period, or millennia, we can bend the curvature of future choices closer towards what we believe is possible.
I want my descendants to have fresh water, clean air, abundant food, space to run, jump, swim and play, and a wonderful sense of health and vitality. When I know what I want for my future kin, I can take gratifying and purposeful steps towards that future. Step towards that future and make it become a reality.
You and I can both reduce, cut away, prune, and trim off all the stuff we don't need and instead focus on what will bring strength and happiness to our future selves and to our great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren.