The ability to meet one’s future alternate self is usually only considered to be something that takes place in science fiction novels. Yet, on my latest away mission, I found myself talking to a distressed retired admiral (senior citizen) that had some remarkably similar life experiences and feelings which had me thinking about how my future could turn out.
Retired admirals (senior citizens) share a lot of commonalities. Many retired admirals were hard working educated professionals, loving parents, and good people that for a variety of reasons end up alone and financially destitute nonetheless. The more I’ve explored the galaxy, the more I’ve come to realize how cruel the universe can be. Many say the worse thing going on right now is the galactic plague (covid) but the real scourge afflicting more people is loneliness.
I think about my future and I wonder if one day I’ll also end up adrift alone in orbit around some random celestial body with nothing but time to look back on my life with a mix of gratitude and regret. Then there’s the other indignities of aging such as the increasing physical limitations, the loss of independence, cognitive decline and not being able to be useful. I’m beginning to wonder if being able to live long is indeed a blessing or a curse.
For now, I hope to make the most of what I do have. I’m grateful to be working in a field that allows me to provide help to those that need it. For much of my life I feel like I’ve been a net taker…I hope that by the end of my time here that I will have put out more than I have taken. I want to be the person I used to wish I met when I was younger. I used to pray that someone would intercede in my life and save me from the misery I was experiencing. I think that prayer was finally answered in a way and now I find myself wishing to pay it forward.
It’s impossible to know precisely what the future holds but I hope to mitigate the bad by taking steps to avoid some of the bad possible outcomes I’ve encountered while trying help those that are in difficult situations cope with the issues they are facing. I sometimes wish that the enemy was something tangible that could be destroyed with more ships, photon torpedoes and phasers. Instead, the real enemy is insidious and cloaked. As we speak, I am arming my brain with as many resources as I can in order to help others (and myself) take on this adversary. Who’s with me?!!