Would you invite your future self out for lunch?

I must be around two years old. My maternal grand parents visited on Christmas. My grandfather lived to be 103.

I must be around two years old. My maternal grand parents visited on Christmas. My grandfather lived to be 103.

I subscribe to a blog called the Gero-Punk Project and the query in a recent post was about futurism and asking readers, such as myself, to look forward.

“Would I go out to lunch with my future older self?” There were a bunch of questions, but I narrowed and modified them down to these:

How much older are you than you are now and how far into deep old age are you able to travel in your imagination? When I was laid up in 2013 and couldn’t walk, feed myself or wipe my butt, I thought this is what I would be like when I was ready for hospice care, hoping that would be in my late 80s or 90s. I have a family history of longevity and I don’t envision myself in that bad of shape. If I were to ask my future self out to lunch, I’d likely be in my 7os or 80s. A friend of mine who lives in Tucson in his 80s is quite active, works and contributes to the community. I see myself like him – he’s very computer and tech savvy, is still able to drive and get himself around. I can see myself in that way 20 years from now. Ten years from now is easier to envision. I see people around my neighborhood in their 70s and they are quite vibrant and keeping up with current trends. My mom died at 77 and I can see myself being like her and living actively up until my last breath. She lived long but died short of a massive heart attack in her sleep.

When you try to imagine your future older self, how do you feel? What sensations do experience in your body? Since resurrecting myself back to relative good health, I’ve become much more aware of my entire body, more so than when I was younger. I notice little things – aches and pains, itches and scratches more so than in the past. I lost quite a bit of weight – 37 pounds – that I want to keep much of it off (I’ve gained back 20) and still getting stronger from when I was bed ridden. The acid test was the Bolder Boulder 10K road race three months after being released from the hospital, which was a success. I had to take a swig of oxygen going up the last Folsom Hill into the Stadium. One of my neighbors in her 90s managed to finish the Bolder Boulder up until the year she died.

When you imagine your future older self, what are your surroundings? I’m thinking I won’t be needing any assisted living 10 years from now and probably still living where I am at Silver Sage. Twenty years from now, I hope to still be living independently. Even though living in “community” can be a big pain in the butt, it is nice to have neighbors around. I suspect the surroundings are going to change since I’m one of the youngest people here and in 10 years and for sure in 20 years, there will likely be some deaths and people moving out to assisted living, nursing homes or in with relatives and new, younger people moving into the ‘hood.

What are some ways in which you can experience enjoyment, freedom, and passion … in your aging body? I don’t want to out-live my peers, which is starting to happen. I’m making an effort to befriend men and women who are now in their 30s and 40s. I’ll live as full as I can. I tried shooting some baskets a couple summers ago with a kid, which was a cue for me to get stronger and get more flexible, which is why I started yoga class at The Little Yoga Studio. There aren’t a lot of men who attend, I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest person. I made a vow to myself not to end up being the old guy in the club. I could use some passion in my life as I get older. Time is getting away!

Who are your co-creatures in later life? With whom do you spend time and enjoy life? Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of acquaintances and able to stay in touch with many of them through social media. I’ve made a point of not befriending many of my cohousing neighbors. In cohousing, other than basic neighborliness,  my main interaction among everyone is conducting business. That will change as households age and there’s more reliance on a property manager, which is a transition that’s happening now. I don’t have any family of my own. I have a domestic partner, but she’s several years older than me and has her own family. It’s hard to say if I’ll still be in that fold if something happens to her. My cousins are scattered all around the place. They all have their own lives elsewhere and I’m not counting on them to pay attention to my well being later in life. I come in and out of a couple friends’ lives who would be a good companions — but life is about timing.

What is the quality of mind — the form of consciousness — that you bring to your aging experience? Cable TV must be the domain of old people. All the ads are for arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimers. I’m finding that I don’t remember proper names like I did. I still remember faces and details about people but remember a name on the spot? Forget about it, the name will eventually come to me though. I hear that if you play word games that helps keep the mind sharp, but I don’t think that slows down the aging process. Most places I go, I find that I’m the oldest person. I don’t know if others view me like that though, but I notice. I visit a friends and neighbors at the rehab center over in the nearby rehab center. It was one of those “one size fits all” places with basic physical rehab to long term nursing care in the same building. It was eye opening to see how people end up – unaware, wheel chair bound and just waiting it out. I hope I don’t make it that long.

What do you see as your purpose in your later years? When my dad retired many years ago and I was still living in Lander, Wyoming and “commuting” back and forth to Boulder working on a project for the Northern Arapaho Tribe, I learned about a guy named Rabbi Zalman Schachter who wrote a book called “From Aging to Saging.” I gave a copy to my dad when he retired. He was a bit freaked out about what he was going to do with his time. He wasn’t a golfer or recreater. He was thinking about getting into multi-level marketing, traveling. He ended up doing quite a bit with the Presbyterian Church – mostly because my mom was pretty involved. She was a watercolor painter and they were a team. She painted pictures, he matted, framed, hung and took down the shows. He didn’t really do much social change type work, but it was better than sitting around and watching sports on TV. I see myself still working. I’ve slowed down a bit, but I hope to be producing meaningful content for digital media, maybe helping organizations with fund raising.

What new things are your future older self learning and experiencing? I’m trying to keep up with the basic innovations and have always been on the leading edge of things. I used to be an early adopter of technology, but with things changing as rapidly as they are, I’ve been slowing down my consumerism. My dad never learned how to use a computer, although my mom did and was quite proficient at email. She didn’t make it through to social media, but I’m pretty sure she would be facebooking along with the best of us. Within the next 20 years, I’ll still be going strong keeping in touch with people the best I can.

What changes in your thinking and acting do you need to make in your current life in order to have the embodied old age you envisage?  I have to downsize. Get rid of stuff. I have started this and it’s a very tedious task. My sister has squatted on the family property that’s full of three households of junk. There’s no telling when that’s going to be purged. I don’t want to be stuck with the detritus of life. She still is clinging onto our parent’s past lives. It would be nice to get rid of all that property and my sister can get a life of her own.

If you invited your future older self over for lunch, what would you ask him? “Why the hell did you allow yourself to get so old?”

Hard copy still the best evidence of the present to inform the future

I've been sorting through my stuff and it's more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

I’ve been sorting through my stuff and it’s more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

I used to think hard copy would clutter up the world and everything would be digitized by now. Turns out, that’s not really the case. There will be plenty of hard copy carrying forth into the future.

Lot’s of history is “preserved” that way. I’m testament to that and sorting through boxes of papers and artifacts from my previous lives. I don’t know why I’ve held on to this stuff for so long.

Don’t be surprised if you get a mysterious envelope filled with some tangible tie between us.

Literal shared memories.

The main reason I like making historic documentaries is the research. I’ve gotten to know my way around the state of Wyoming archives, on three projects, most recently one about modern expressionism in Wyoming.

I like handling old photographs and learning about things past and assembling it all into a story.

I have an iPod with 80GB of memory. It will soon be out of date.

I have an iPod with 80GB of memory. It will soon be out of date.

A few years ago when iPods came out, I early-adopted one of the huge 80 gigabyte models.

Back in the days of cassettes, the rage was compiling a variety of music mixes on tape from LP vinyl records.

We used to borrow each others albums and copy them for our own collections. Not only had I accumulated vinyl, cassette tape music mixes, but also started buying CDs.

The iPod was supposed to revolutionize music storage. That it did, but they also sterilized memory making.

Hard copy.

A friend of mine posted on facebook recently about some problem he was having with his iPod hard drive – we have the same model – about cracking the case to get at it and the battery.

Backing up information continues to be a headache, not to mention batteries going dead. There’s a company that makes an adapter to replace the hard drives with high capacity SD cards, which is a pretty good idea. I’m looking into bumping mine up to 256GB.

My turntable still plays records, but I got rid of all of them in favor of CDs. My neighbor still has some discs to spin.

My turntable still plays records, but I got rid of all of them in favor of CDs. My neighbor still has some discs to spin.

Gone are the days of turntables, memorable scratches on certain songs, beer-stained 8-track labels, the residual aroma of pot on double album jackets. They take up space, but no fear of loss due to battery failure of out-of-date operating systems.

Kids must be learning different things in school. Metaphors must be changing, too, with way fewer industrial references.

I don’t think talkative people sound like broken records, or those with disagreements are now on the same wave length.

Carhartt jeans are still inspected by people, including these three in a factory in Mexico. They add that personal touch.

Carhartt jeans are still inspected by people, including these three in a factory in Mexico. They add that personal touch.

I put on a new pair of jeans the other day and there were these paper inspection labels in the pockets.

We’re led to believe that everything is automated and made by high tech machines.

There are still some items that have the human touch, including my Carhartts made in Mexico.

Not only were my trousers inspected three times, but one of the inspectors saved on paper by changing their ID number using a Magic Marker.

I don’t know what I expected the future to be like by now. When I was a kid there was the Hanna Barbera cartoon sit-com “The Jetsons.”

The Jetsons TV family was the view of a typical 1960s family if portrayed in the distant future.

The Jetsons TV family was the view of a typical 1960s family if portrayed in the distant future.

The Jetsons traveled around in hover craft, their house was cleaned by a robot named Rosie. George worked at the Spacely Sprockets office, Jane puttered around the house, Judy was in high school and Elroy was in elementary school.

Middle class and All-American for the future as envisioned in the early 1960s, which was the same present portrayed in Leave it to Beaver.

For 99 percent of us, we did become mass society – most everyone has a TV, microwave oven, internal combustion engine car.

Carhartt is one of those companies that has purged it’s guilt with a “Made in the USA” line and also stuff made elsewhere. Regardless, it’s good to know there are humans involved in the manufacturing quality control.

There’s plenty of esoteria that goes into making smart refrigerators and smart coffee pots, but the basic purposes remain the same – keep food cold and water hot.

After the Star Ship Enterprise blew up, Picard was able to retrieve his family album as he took over the Star Fleet command.

After the Star Ship Enterprise blew up, Picard was able to retrieve his family album as he took over the Star Fleet command.

Remember “Star Trek Generations”, the movie set in the 25th century when the Star Ship Enterprise is destroyed? Captain Kirk turns the keys over to Jean Luc Picard. Picard manages to save his hard copy family album.

Some of the photos and papers dated back to the 18th century. If it was digitized, the electromagnetic pulse would have wiped the disc clean.

Hard copy isn’t safe from disaster. The library at Alexandria was the book repository for the world at that time and it was supposedly destroyed by a big fire – no copies left of any of that.

Grocery store plastic bags cost a dime in Boulder, Colorado. The hope is to reduce the amount of trash that will be preserved for future generations to find and learn about our culture.

Grocery store plastic bags cost a dime in Boulder, Colorado. The hope is to reduce the amount of trash that will be preserved for future generations to find and learn about our culture.

I tossed out the trash today. It was in a plastic bag. I always dump it out so the organics will deteriorate and not leave any evidence of my diet in the landfill.

My neighbors use those nuclear war-proof bags with the draw strings. Archaeologists and paleontologists of the future will have a pretty good idea about our 21st century culture and determine that we inhabitants revered our detritus as evidenced by the stockpiles of leftover food, old papers and various containers hidden in large altars excavated into hill sides surrounding urban areas.

7 Answers About My Life Purpose

I don’t know if it’s an American thing, but we’re pretty good at coming up with lists. Maybe lists give a sense of order or accomplishment. There’s been a facebook game of tag going around about listing things for which a person is grateful.

 People wrote about their pets or their families or their homes and physical environments – their stuff. As for me, I couldn’t come up with much. I see life as an interconnection of events and encounters with the world around me and not any three things that make me feel grateful.

I ran across an article by a guy named Mark Manson on Ryan Van Duzer’s wall entitled “7 Strange Questions to Help You Find Your Life Purpose.” Since my two-month stint in the hospital and rehab, I’ve thought about this quite a bit over the last few months.


Like Woody Allen says in Annie Hall, “I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories.The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else.”

From the summer of last year to a couple months ago, I’ve been horrible, I’m thankful that now, I’m just miserable.


I created some hard feelings towards me by a long time friend of mine about not always being straight forward enough or answering questions or describing situations vaguely. I probably do this out of fear of rejection or fear about being wrong. I have been getting better at speaking my mind, but I don’t think people really are interested in hearing straight answers.


I forget to eat from time to time, but I always poop. Writing and editing make me forget to eat. I lost 30 pounds when I was sick and have gained back 20. Even when I forget to eat, I eventually eat even when it is an odd time of the day, usually in the middle of the afternoon. The one thing I advise young people as why they should get a good job, they can eat whenever and whatever and spoil their dinner anytime they want.


As I’ve grown older, I don’t get embarrassed much these days. A couple weeks ago, I started attending yoga classes two or three times a week. I’m a klutz when it comes to the balancing poses, but that doesn’t bother me.  The women in the class make conscious fashion statements with their outfits and yoga accoutrements. I’ve noticed the yoga badge of honor is the worn out yoga mat with lots of toe nail gouges.


I used to think that my participation in various causes would make a difference. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. There’s been quite a bit of controversy about domestic violence and the NFL.

I worked for a domestic violence prevention organization called Project Safeguard, my colleague, also a man completed our MPA degrees at CU Denver in the domestic violence prevention field. While DV is largely a problem of men, the solvency role is largely one reserved for women. It’s been very frustrating bumping up against that ceiling and not being able to do much. One idea I’ve had, but not the energy is to build a group of regular guys – ala the Promise Keepers – to take on the DV issue. Men have to set their own table, not join that of women.

The only people who can have a huge impact are very wealthy people and famous people who can buy change. Everyone else just follows along, It takes regular people like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown to be killed / martyred to raise awareness about issues and create social change. Maybe that’s how it’s always been for oppressed people.

I’ve come to realize that I can only do so much as an individual and hope others choose to do the same. I give $5 to political campaigns in Kentucky wondering if Alison Grimes can take out Mitch McConnell and on recently elected Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and hope I can be a small part of a change movement.  If I ever did anything personally, I imagine it would have to do with a hard-hitting documentary project. The world would be saved by now if we only had more spare time. My last stint in party politics I was the precinct 108 captain for the 2008 election cycle. This was when the Obama ground game was so good. The school was packed to capacity and the caucus oozed out into the hallways.


A long time ago I decided that I wanted to see and do things while I was young and spry enough to enjoy and not wait until I was too old. I’m also one who isn’t content just to travel someplace to look at stuff. There’s a Talking Heads album called Stop Making Sense. It’s laid out as a scrapbook and one of the cut lines is “Rich people travel thousands of miles to take pictures of poor people.”

Over the years, I’ve been to all the states multiple times except for only one trip to Hawaii. I spent a month in Uganda a few years back, made pilgrimages to visit the family roots in Japan and Peru. Lived and worked in Mexico for several years.

I’ve experienced quite a few events. Here’s a sampling – saw Mantle and Maris play, traveled to Washington DC and tear gassed during Richard Nixon’s 1973 inauguration and hung around at LBJ’s funeral; had lunch with Timothy Leary; went to one of Bill Clinton’s inaugural balls in 1993, trekked to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees in the 2001 World Series shortly after the 9/11 attack, saw Nebraska get creamed by Miami in the 2000 Rose Bowl NCAA National Championship game, climbed Devil’s Tower a few times, swam with dolphins in the Amazon River.

When I turned 60, I came up with a list of some things to do that year, then I landed in the hospital and didn’t quite get through everything, but the list continues in play. Going to Ecuador was on the list. I also haven’t been to Europe. Any travel would have to be around something unique. Maybe Harry will invite me over the Pond for a drink.


I’ve thought about this quite a bit lately. The question asks people to project out a year and as such, I don’t think it gets much serious thought and gives an excuse to put off thinking about.

When I went to visit Graceland the first time, I knew Elvis was famous, but I didn’t think he was THAT famous – all those Grammy Awards, clothes, jewels, cars.

Over the years I’ve accumulated stuff thinking it might be of interest to others. Turns out, I mostly have boxes of junk that I’ve been sorting through, trying to sell a few things and giving stuff to charity.

I watched a cable show called Tiny House about people wanting to downsize and live in homes that are a couple hundred sq ft in size. The downsize therapist had the “hoarder” separate things into three piles – trash, recycle /reuse, keep – it’s a pretty good method.

I’ve come to realize that the only people who have any business keeping their stuff are famous people. I’ll pass a few things on to others. My main hobby over the years is collecting autographed baseballs of all the players on particular Yankees teams. The internet took the challenge out of collecting, but I was able to fill out the odd ball items and the collection is largely complete. It’s been tough for me to let go of that stuff.

How do I want to be remembered? I googled myself to see what was out there in cyber space – mostly information that’s five or six years old and about my recent movie and TV business life. Nothing, really, about growing up in Cheyenne, at school at Hastings College, in grad school in Laramie, working in Gillette, and Lander or much about my time in Colorado.

If I were to leave behind a record of my life virtually, it would be my facebook and linkedin accounts. I don’t know if I want my social media life ended.

When Robin Williams died, there was a lot of attention paid to him for a couple weeks and then that story became old news. If a famous guy like Robin Williams fades into the past fairly quickly, I’m pretty sure, about all I’ll get is an obituary in a couple newspapers and someone will have to pay for those, if they get around to it.

I’ve put some thought into my final wishes, though. I want to be cremated and some of my ashes scattered on top of Devil’s Tower – I hope I don’t out live all of my old climbing pals; some scattered over center field in Yankee Stadium – that may be a secret mission. I have a grave plot in Cheyenne, that will then be unused, but I’ll have a headstone that says “Alan O’Hashi 1953 – 20?? ‘Was Supposed to be Buried Here'” or “Who’s buried in Alan O’Hashi’s tomb? Nobody”

There’s the material life purpose which has to do with “stuff” and the nature of this little quiz. I have grown frustrated with this because the American Dream is to accumulate and take up space and bigger is better. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that what is better is exactly the opposite. My purpose in life is to do good, do no harm and move away from the material. I sound like a Methodist. Methodists say “Stay in Love with God” but that doesn’t quite roll off my tongue.