My youngest child turned 18 last week and it was clear this mark on the calendar of her life was more significant to me than to her.
As with many interactions with people, what I was projecting onto someone else and building into expectations for that person had more to do with what I was feeling than with the other person’s state of mind.
Seven decades into my own life it’s easy on some days, not all, to find myself looking back more than I look ahead. Having admitted that folly, I also must say I still love work and constantly look for new challenges so I can continue to work and believe I am better at my job than ever.
In my business, media, there is no better example of a tireless and futuristic executive than Rupert Murdoch who, at 87, is still divesting, acquiring, and running things.
And so, on the day my daughter Meredith turned 18, at the same time I was working on a new and potential business deal, I was trying to concentrate on recalling the great years watching her grow into a fabulous, intelligent young woman, thoughtful person and terrific athlete.
Try as I might – and I did try – here’s what I did not do. I did not attempt to project the future or spend time gazing into the looking glass of time to wonder what life will be like for her in 20, 30 or 50 years .
One reason I didn’t do that is because I am not smart enough to predict or even imagine the future and the multitude of changes our world and our lives will encounter.
I also prefer not to worry about it.
Much of what happens in life is beyond our control. Some power stronger than we are is in control.
Life will unfold, technology will increase in our lives at a blistering pace and the pluses and minuses of those advances will be debated; nations will grab for power; there will be as many bad political leaders as good ones; democracy will prevail and, hopefully, science will advance swiftly to combat and defeat maladies such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, mental illness, and other deadly diseases.
It’s my prayer that we will take care of our planet and the environment, which I do happen to believe is endangered by climate change and environmental abuses.
Who among us could have imagined the life we lead today?
I grew up spending summers on a lake and we did not have a phone in our log cabin overlooking the water. We could have had one but my father thought it would be a distraction to a simple life outdoors. He was right.
I couldn’t help but think of that while watching young and old alike constantly checking their mobile phones during the birthday celebration. The more we advance sometimes, the more we fall back.
At 18, my daughter has learned the basics of how to make good choices and how to be kind to others, and she understands that nothing is accomplished without hard work. She’s been encouraged to challenge herself and others, to challenge authority, to have a healthy suspicion of power and those who wield it, and to pursue her bliss in life – which at present is sports achievement.
Meanwhile, I need to get back to making my own plans for another 18 years or more of life and work.
Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at email@example.com