In 1981, Steve Perry and the guys of Journey sure knew how to put out a song to garner the loud, sometimes off key singing of the masses for years to come. “Don’t Stop Believin” is one such anthem that resonates with many a would be singer, with the tag “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling….” at least in my mind, promoting a sense of endurance and hope for the future.
When I was growing up as a child of the 80s with my parachute pants, floor model television tuned into the Dukes of Hazzard, walk-man radio and Pitfall Atari game, I remember thinking that the world I was living in was one of science fiction. Bright lights of video arcades, music television displaying the latest Duran Duran video and push button telephones with a twelve foot cord length had the be the epitome of futuristic living. One night while listening to the Eagles on our twin speaker pioneer stereo system that sat upon our cream and brown shag carpet, I had a conversation with my Dad about the future. He described something that seemed so far-fetched and inconceivable that I chalked it up to one too many viewings of The Empire Strikes Back. He outlined a not too distant future in which we would be able to communicate via a telephone system that allowed for viewing of the caller in real time. He went further in his description by suggesting we would all have some type of computer system that interlinked with household devices that would allow us to control much of our environment from one central location. Granted, I thought it all sounded fantastic but my extensive knowledge of computers at the time was comprised of “snake” on the commodore 64 and dying of dysentery whilst on the Oregon Trail. My sole means of communication outside of a local telephone call was a ten page handwritten letter to my uncle stationed in Turkey at the time, and I could always depend upon his response to arrive three weeks later.
Now, flash forward. I am not sure even my Dad could have fathomed the amount of ground that has been covered technologically by our human race in such a relatively short amount of time. Things that we would not have even thought necessary are now a way of life and are in a lot of cases depended upon. Remember the advent of cordless phones and the fax machine? What about the creation of the internet (thanks Al Gore)? Do you recall of the sound of the dial up connection on your gigantic desktop computer? How about all the “well-to-do” people and the bag phones in their car? The Zack Morris portable? The Motorolla brick flip and the phone to end all phones….the Nokia, were just blips on the radar of where we are today. I even remember the first generation iPhone, MySpace and the creation of Facebook as being non-essential time wasters….toys for college kids. Even as I sit here now, and anticipate publishing this writing, I give very little thought to the fact that I am typing my thoughts on a page electronically created by a computer, to be somehow published on social media, a forum accessible to thousands of people. Crazy isn’t it?
I ramble about such things for this reason: Our dreams and vision are possible and are in the grand scheme of things, achievable in the foreseeable future. As individuals and as a collective community we must continue to dream. We must continue to show vision and promote ways to achieve that vision by planning and we must all be steadfast and immovable in our work to stay on track to achieve such dreams, no matter how long it takes or the obstacles we face. Sometimes this endurance and patience can be difficult. Due to the technology described above, we as a society have become seekers of instant gratification. For example, many of the readers of this article, stopped reading after the first 140 characters because we are now programmed to think in small chunks of information and phrases. That is unfortunate. All the technology that makes our lives easier and more comfortable were once just thoughts…dreams so to speak that required years of planning, engineering, marketing, maintenance, etc. , but now we ALL benefit from that vision, planning, drive, endurance and work ethic. We must ask ourselves daily, am I contributing toward my dream as an individual? Am I truly working toward my vision to better myself, to be the person I want to be, to live the life I want to live? Am I contributing to the greater good of those around me by working steadfastly toward a common community desire or dream? Am I supporting the cause? Am I cheering on the different aspects of the work? Am I a team player, willing to put in the time and effort for the win? It will not be easy. At times it will not be fun or enjoyable. However, it WILL be worth it.
I don’t know what the future holds. From past experience, I would bet there will be some adversity and heartache, but such is life. What I am more interested in is the end product of endurance and determination through such scrutiny and negativity, whatever the goal being worked toward may be. I thank God for all that he does for me and for our community. I thank Him for those around me that tirelessly work hard to provide a good life for themselves, their family and their community. I cannot help but be excited for what lies ahead in years to come, because regardless of what we may be told or see in our daily chunks of information, looking to the past and living in the present I find so much to be proud of, to be thankful for and enjoy.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt