What Really Matters

If you are reading this now, it must be the year 2168.  My, what I would give to see what life is like for you, our country, and our world.

As I write this, it is 2018 and we still drive cars, use smartphones, and continue to fight diseases like diabetes and cancer.  The world is still a volatile place with street crime, international disputes, extreme poverty and famine in many parts of the world, as well as terrorism.  I sincerely hope that, in your time, things are very different. That said, we live in a marvelous age with many creature comforts, a technology that helps us, and leisure time to enjoy the blessings of a prosperous time in the United States of America.

I have spent my career as a journalist, roughly forty years on television (something that may only be in museums in your time!) as a news anchor and reporter.  For thirty of those years, I worked in San Francisco and lived nearby by you in Clayton and then in Walnut Creek.  I can only hope that Concord is still the wonderful community that I have known it to be for decades.  I have been proud to be very involved in Concord civic life for so many years- presiding over the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, performing at Todos Santos Plaza with my rock band, emceeing California Symphony concerts in the park, just to name a few.

In my time, the technology-driven change was exponential.  As a child, the only way to speak with someone remotely was with a landline-based telephone, something else that you may only see now in a museum!  Cell phones only began to appear when I was in my mid-twenties, the so-called smartphone only came along when I was in my mid-forties.  I can only imagine how you communicate with friends and loved ones around the world now.  In 2018, self-driving car technology was in its infancy—very experimental and not in widespread use at all.  The idea of driving yourself around must be as foreign to you as a horse and buggy for transportation is to me.

While you must live a vastly different life than I did, I feel certain that a few aspects of human existence are exactly the same.  You want to live in prosperity and peace and want the best for your children.  Your family, friends, and hope for a better future are surely the same as must be your sense of pride in your community.  And with good reason.  Concord was a special place when I was here and I have no doubt it is even more so now.

What an enormous privilege to be able to communicate with you so many years into the future. A blast from the past as we say!

I wish you all my best and only wish we had invented a crystal ball so that I might look into your world.

If, however, you have already invented a time machine—please look me up when you come back!

Dan Ashley