A Reference, Not a Residence

I read this phrasing in a Facebook post. It caught my eye, but I didn’t understand what it meant at first glance.

The past has value. I can learn from it, but I can’t change it. At some point in human history, things changed very slowly. The past, the present, and the future were pretty much the same.

Since long ago, the rate of change in society has been increasing. Without going too far back, the Industrial Revolution is an example of a sudden and rapid increase in the rate of change. For those living at the time, it must have been very threatening.

I think of young families with children looking ahead to decide how to earn a living. Many of the jobs in their future didn’t exist in their early teen years.

I’m speculating now. On a continuum, some would dig in and go for traditional work. Unfortunately, mechanization would erase many opportunities that traditionally existed. At the other end of the continuum, some teens would be willing to take a chance and find a way to earn a living without any guide or guild to help show the way.

And the rest would fall somewhere in between.

I think we are in this rapid period of change, in which many opportunities for earning income have yet to be invented.

So, to return to the title of this Blog, I understand what it means.

The past is a helpful reference point to keep in mind. I can learn from it, and it can impact the decisions I need to make today. I don’t need to decide on a career choice, but I have other age-appropriate decisions to make. I have childrean and grandchildren with a lot of time left on their clocks and many life-altering decisions.

However, there are better places to take up residence than in the past. It should, at best, be for very temporary housing.

The future is where I will be living, and I need to figure out how to navigate those waters for an optimum outcome.

Please give this a bit of a think. Do you struggle with the comfort of the past with the uncertainty of the future? Is there a particular facet of your life that has an alarming uncertainty for you? On a positive note, are there new technologies, insights or concepts that could help draw you toward making an active decision versus waiting passively to see what happens?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by AI (Request an image showing the transition from Industrial Revolution times to the not-too-distant future.)

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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association for making this Blog possible.

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4 thoughts on “A Reference, Not a Residence

  1. Patti+Dolman says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few years about how the home we live in now will work for us as we age. I don’t even have a main floor bathroom, it’s 4 steps down. Our bedrooms are all upstairs. The answer of course is to move to a condo with a swimming pool, where there would be people to visit or share a meal with, a place to stroll in inclement weather. But I’m the only one who this appeals to so here I’ll stay until I’m 97 and no longer able to navigate stairs. I’ve already asked my daughter if she’ll take me into her home as long as I’ve got some of my mind and I can peel potatoes for her. Don’t be looking for me in a “ home” ; I’m not going.

  2. Gail Benshabat says:

    I accidentally pressed “post comment” before I was ready to send it. I don’t think there was a way to go back and change it to “draft.”

    I want to add a few comments about the reference not a residence phrase. The past, for me, serves exactly that – a reference point. It’s a place to think about but not to cling to. Because a huge part of our fears, doubts, and anxiety stem from our past. Not everyone is able to live in the present.

    I’ve learned from my past, the good and the bad. We live in a world of change and that’s something all of us have had to adapt to and accept. How do I handle rapid change? I keep up with change by educating myself.

    Continuous learning and self development keep me on my toes. That’s the wonderful thing about the internet, science and technology. There’s a wealth of information at our fingertips. We have choices and those choices can often lead to better outcomes, if we choose wisely. Even if those choices aren’t good choices, we still learn from them. No need to dwell on the past. The past is the past. Like the river, it may look the same but it’s constantly changing. That’s how life flows.

    • glenn says:

      I approved just your latest version. Thanks for the heads up. Great reflection.

      I read your first post and thought it was so on-topic that I posted the main focus below. Again. Thanks.

      “I’ve walked across the Riverside Bridge in downtown Toronto many times. One day I was drawn to the words on one side of the bridge, which reads in big white letters: “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.” It took a while for the message to sink in. But then I understood it (after a google search). The text is taken from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. In simple terms, the saying “No man ever stepson into the same river twice” means that the water in a river is always flowing and changing. The river is never the same from one moment to the next.”

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