I started my Spring Cleaning a few weeks ago and, as usual, when I stumbled upon a box of old photos, the cleaning promptly came to a halt so that I could peruse my past, feel nostalgic and sigh over the swift passage of time. During this most recent visit to the "old me," I was especially shocked by what I saw in the photos that dated back 20-25 years: bad hair, bad clothes and bad accessories, to name a few. How could I have allowed myself to walk around like that? Why didn't anyone stop me? But I quickly noticed that the other people in the photos looked just like I did. It was the '90s and we wore overalls, babydoll dresses with floral prints and high-waisted jeans with cropped tops. We had butterfly clips in our hair, which was oddly parted. Back then, there weren't eyebrows, there was one eyebrow (at least for me). But then I had my lightbulb moment: In the '90s, we didn't actually look bad, we simply looked current. It's only now, with 25 years between 1990s me and 2015 me, that I'm embarrassed by my old look. This realization got me thinking: in 25 years from now, what will I look back on with incredulity, either style-wise or otherwise? What will my future self think of the life that my present self is living? Below are a few of my thoughts so far (some of them are meant to be silly).
1. In 2015 in New York City, there were no barricades between the streets and the sidewalks. How is that possible? People were getting run over all the time by cars jumping the curb, and were killed or maimed.
2. It wasn't standard for all cars to have breathalyzers that had to be utilized (by the driver) prior to being able to start the car. Further, a driver was able to make calls and text while driving.
3. People ate at Benihana without flame-retardant clothing or a facemask.
4. People used to be cut open for surgery. How barbaric! In 2040 all we do is put people through a machine and a laser does the work. No more bleeding to death in the OR or contracting an infection during a hospital stay.
5. In 2015, people wore jeans that fit like leggings and tucked them into boots. And some of these boots didn't go above the ankle.
6. Babies were still being born with genes that caused them to become dreadfully sick and even die. I know it's a long shot that this problem will have been remedied by 2040, but I have to hold out hope.
7. In 2015, people wore glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision. Ridiculous! In 2040, we simply wave a laser in front of a person's eyes for five minutes and voila! Problem solved.
8. Athletes, including children, didn't wear helmets when playing certain sports, such as rugby, field hockey and soccer. In soccer, you were expected to head the ball, even if punted by the goalie! Moreover, the helmets that athletes did wear didn't do all that much to keep them safe.
9. Some voting centers used pieces of paper to record votes for elected officials, including the President!
10. There weren't two lanes on sidewalks (one for fast walkers and one for slow walkers), so if you got stuck behind a group of tourists, you would be late for whatever appointment you were going to.
11. Parents often had to take out a second mortgage on their homes in order to be able to put their children through college, and those children still wound up being weighed down by massive amounts of debt, making college out of reach for many families.
12. Gay marriage wasn't legal in all 50 states.
13. People wrote checks by hand and sent them by mail. Now you, in 2040, ask, what's "mail"?
14. Parades still existed in big cities, fouling up transportation for hours, tying up police officers who surely had better things to do and utilizing taxpayer money that surely could have been spent in a more prudent manner. What's more, the President was still allowed to visit NYC! As much as you may love a given President, I assure you that you don't like it when he visits your city.
15. Some parents were arrested for allowing their children to walk to the park alone.
16. In 1969, America put astronauts on the moon, but by 2015 we hadn't figured out how to feed all of our starving children, how to decrease gun violence (well, maybe we knew how to do it -- it's not rocket science -- but we still didn't do it) or figured out how to accurately predict whether it would rain, snow or be a beautifully sunny day.
17. The third year of law school still existed.
18. Only women's bathrooms had changing tables, and many office buildings didn't provide women with a private space to pump.
19. Mullets hadn't been outlawed.
What do you think you will look back on with incredulity?