One day, you're playing in your crib, rattle in hand while sucking on your pacifier. The next, it's your first day of first grade. There are no toys -- in their place stand wooden desks and chairs and a bright green board with writing scribbled all over it. Before you know it, you're in high school and you think to yourself, "How the heck did I get here?" You go from a coloring book to an SAT review book. From your rattle to your iPhone. Your crib to your family's beat-up old car which has now (unfortunately) been passed on to you. It's scary what happens in just a couple of years. Remember VCRs and Walkmen? When the Internet was just a bunch of text because pictures took too long to download? Mark Zuckerberg merely a teenager in Dobbs Ferry, the term Facebook actually referring to a real book. You could travel without having to take off your shoes, get a pat-down, and walk through an x-ray machine because we didn't live in a world where the threat of terrorism lurked everywhere, even on our own soil. It's truly amazing how things can change so quickly and yet it's scary.
Growing up, you never realize how much things change. It happens every day, yet you don't truly comprehend it until you look back and realize just how different things are from what they used to be. Don't forget, I'm only a teenager, but still, it's scary to think about how different the world will be in five, 10, or 15 years from now. And the way the world has evolved -- a world with a true globalized economy and an instantaneous flow of information -- things will change even faster. And now, the question arises, can we handle that change? Are we ready to take on the debt-ridden economies, the threat of world terror and climate change (just to name a few of the challenges we're facing)? Are we ready for the new Middle East, one where the political landscape is now almost unrecognizable from what it was a mere two years ago and the oppressive regimes topple by the day?
The answer, as you'd expect, is not so simple. We face a daunting challenge -- no one can argue with that. The best solution will most likely not be the easiest or the shortest. But we can do it. We did it after the depression, after WWII and for the various recessions we've had over the years. However, we need to be more attentive to the possible repercussions of the action we need to take now. This is key to how the next 50+ years of this nation's history ultimately plays out. It's inherent in mankind's DNA to evolve so the world won't stay the same (whether we want it to or not). In 50 year's time, they will look back on this period of time as either the point in history where America rebounded or " fouled out." Change may not be what we want but, ultimately, change will be what we need.