A letter from the editor
Thoughts on the future and our paths taken to get there
March 19, 2021
Do you ever pay attention to the thread of your life? How it begins in one place with yourself in a certain frame of mind, and then your mind develops as the thread unspools and grows longer and longer? If you look back, you can see how the thread changes, how your experience of the world shifts as you age.
Quarantine has been a non-experience. An extended layover at the country’s worst, most run-down gas station. This period of time– which reached its first birthday on March 13–has been long and muddled and arduous, and unhealthy. Sure, I suppose I have grown as a person; when you’re a human as young as I am–as young as any of us are–every few months seems to bring a subtle change in demeanor, a slightly expanded comprehension of life.
But the larger thread of my life feels frozen, in a way. Like I hadn’t progressed since the age of seventeen when this all started for me. And now, well, I am an adult.
With this realization came forth a personal epiphany: it is impossible for me to exist in this time without constantly thinking of the future, the only place where change seems to be possible. I assume for many of you that it is the same.
The future is a form of escapism. In the 1930s, as the Great Depression ravaged the country, many Americans turned to emerging cinemas and the fairytale lands they projected in order to exist in a place other than their current era. I believe I have been doing basically the same thing as I keep my eye trained on the tail-end of my thread– that elusive date where the future begins.
Which date is this? For me, the answer is simple: May 1. A date that will inevitably determine the course of many peoples’ lives. Every American adult may be made eligible for a covid vaccine, high school seniors must choose an institution to educate and house them (without, in many cases, even seeing the campus), and it’s World Naked Gardening Day.
The future is the only direction I find myself facing anymore, with just a few exceptions. College decisions pull me down for a moment, as the shock rattles me to my core and confuses and elates me. Then, there is one person in my life who makes it incredibly hard to focus on anything besides the present moment, and for that person, I am incredibly grateful, even when they make APES homework last an entire evening (I’m not complaining!).
However, the effect is often viciously short-lived, and soon I’m back to my existential crisis of financial aid, questionable living situations, and the general uncertainty of the future.
Despite the tumult, the future is promising for primarily one reason: it alludes to a time similar to the one unfrozen in my thread of life. The future promises experience closer to the normal we have known since we were born, even if we have begun to forget what that was like.
While the future holds many possibilities (and, despite what it may seem, I still believe possibilities are generally a positive concept), it’s important to remember the past. We need to remember that the past defines the majority of the thread of our lives, and keeping it in mind will fuel us with the hope which we most desperately need.
To quote my favorite song by The Kinks, “I hope the world’s been treating you right.”
I’ll see you soon,