Until just recently I struggled to understand those who claimed to be born into the wrong era. I am sure you know them, or even count yourself among them: those occasional sorts who’ll wishfully imagine a Victorian upbringing, or one that bore witness to the turn of an earlier century, or (most frequently) one of a simpler era, of prairie, perhaps, or a pre-industrial home. The past has never appealed comfortably to me; the foreign country of the present–the unnavigated, unmapped mess of question and groping prediction–though foreign, has always to me like home, and I’ve liked the danger and frustration of it all. Or, at least, I’ve liked it in the past.
But that was then.
These days the present feels wrong. These days I feel wistful for the future, for moments of greater chaos when either we or our chlidren’s children will look back and laugh aghast at what we chose today to dramatize, at our naive concerns about the world, at our tragicomic headlines (so quaint! so misguided!) and fears. I feel wistful for a future as distant as we are from the ancients, one in which all that we consider known and true is wrong. i feel wistful for a future that contains nobody.