(Once again, Peter Kugel’s Annual Contribution to 70-something.com)
On Fridays at 4:00, the retirement community where we now live, offers us a weekly lecture.
We recently heard a retired neurologist talk about the history of Washington, DC during the second half of the twentieth century. It was, in the words of President Kennedy, “a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” It was also the capital of the richest and most powerful country on earth.
For Americans who lived then (us) it was the best time in history to be alive and we were very lucky to live in it. Luckier than the people who lived before us and luckier than our grandchildren who will live after us.
Our ancestors lived without modern medicine or flush toilets. Our children, and their children, will have to live with climate change, the threat of nuclear war, a crumbling infrastructure that we have neglected, a huge national debt we have greatly increased, terrorism, income inequality and a dysfunctional government that will be unable to deal with the whole catastrophe.
The people we had dinner with that night agreed. We had been lucky and our grandchildren would not be.
When I went to bed, I remembered that things hadn’t looked so great when I was born (in 1930). It was the first year of a bad depression and that was followed by a terrible war. The future looked grim.
Before I went to sleep, I thought about something that Yogi Berra had once said: “It’s tough to make predictions. Particularly about the future.”