Charley leads a comfortable life with her best friend and perfect match, Michael, a man with whom she shares two lovely pet children (canine and feline), and a home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She’s fortunate to have a caring and supportive family, and two amazing friends, Inez and Becks. Professionally, she holds a secure position as editor of a respected healthcare magazine. Her life is settled, as is her future.
Acquiring this existence of hers hadn’t been easy. For at least twenty years she felt like a wind-up toy, methodically following preprogrammed rules—step one … step two. She even imagined herself as a minuscule, but essential, cog inside a big machine with the mechanical brain. No matter what she tells herself, it hasn’t helped since another thought flutters through her mind as frequently: Going through the motions is the same as coasting toward nothingness.
It is 2025, the time is right. Technology, in a rapidly advancing world, makes it possible to reimagine the future by recreating the past or, more aptly, by creating another past.
Charley must either embrace her well-earned, sedate lifestyle, or invite a change that could alter her future irreversibly. It’s a difficult decision, one that could destroy all she has endeavored for, turning their life not only upside down, but backwards, forwards, and inside out.
full-time designer/web developer of fifteen years. Ironically, she often waxes
nostalgic over simpler days. Her passions include writing fiction and poetry,
painting, and collecting vintage thingamabobs.
Chicago, she relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she currently lives with
her husband and three beastly, furry children.
She is a
writer of fiction and poetry and the internationally published author of
In 2028, we, Charlotte Avery’s sponsors, asked her to publish her experiences as a Generation Xer. Collectively, we hope this perspective provides guidance by way of an empathetic viewpoint and helps others who may be struggling with their lives in a modern age. The time we live in may seem rather impersonal and we want you to know, you are not alone.
And while we all look to others for support, it is ourselves who we rely on the most. In this story, writing is the avenue by which Charlotte organizes her thoughts and addresses an ever-present listener, herself. Below you will find one of many journal entries, which offer valuable insights into Charlotte’s personal turmoil, and it may help you.
December 31, 2024
What am I now but a habitually prosaic, rather stiff person who spends too much time in the virtual realms of language without expression? Don’t answer that.
I’m glad the few friends I have politely ignore how ordinary I am.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I had a career, perhaps more creative, which didn’t bleed so heavily into my life or I worked in an office with at least minimal social interaction. I could use the practice. The fact is, my constant daily companion is the machine grinding away in my head and its mirror image, the one behind my monitor (and its babies—the devices).
I truly believe children are innately happy and profoundly creative the moment they are born; at least ten minutes post birth anyway—after the crust is removed from their eyes and a smack on their bottoms awakens them to their new reality. Suddenly they see what they have never seen before. Anything is possible. Every experience is wondrous. Each touch, smell, sound and sight, innocent. In essence, they are the creators of a new world. Even into their adolescent years, these conjurers imagine monsters and fairies alike; believe in mystical creatures and super powers; have faith in everyone and everything; even though none of the ‘beings’ are visible or characteristics, tangible.
It is over the course of more cognitive years when these impressionable minds are taught—rationality and disbelief are synonymous. Sooner or later all of the conditioning we bombard each young person with molds his or her once beautiful, imaginative, and admirable mind (and heart) into a living robot who conforms to the norms of our society.
Believing this, I ask myself, “How did I end up here? Did I ever have control over my life?”
Well … up until 17, I was clueless; busy being young and growing up; nothing wrong with that. Actually, at least I have that, those were the good times. People call it innocence because there is so much newness to experience. In hindsight, I’d rather call it obliviousness since we are unaware of the freedom we’ve been granted for this short period of time. Anyway, all along, of course, I was taught morals and how to be a good person in general; absolutely nothing questionable in fundamental values either. It makes complete sense. We live in a society and it’s so much better when we all get along. In this way, the mechanizations are condonable.
Then, enter the experimental college years, where all the big rules are set and life-changing decisions are made. You can change your mind a few times trying to find your niche. It’s okay, but in the end you must curb your creativity and choose the one path which will define your entire future. I think we’re all supposed to be thankful for the boundaries. So, like a good robot, I followed the program and emerged optimistic, ready to be a contributing member to society. “Yay! I can decorate my place the way I want and bonus! I get to work to buy stuff and pay bills.”
By the time I was 35 it was too late, so I was conditioned to believe, to turn back and do something driven less by necessity than personal passion. It wouldn’t have helped anyway, I still didn’t have ‘one’ goal I wanted personally, I only knew what I needed to carry on. I was already formed.
When my forties rolled around, I was an editor of a well-circulated magazine and had just started working remotely. Conclusively, this is where my personality exited and hermit-dom entered. I have been this uninspired person ever since.
And so you see, I’ve been turning right at every bend since I was 17, the path of least resistance. It’s my own fault for being oblivious, right? I wonder, what would have happened if I’d taken a turn with my own force, skidded and slammed into the future from the opposite side. But I still wonder, how many outcomes are possible for one person when they play the game by destiny’s rules anyway?