Johnny’s American future
This is part of a weekly series of interviews by Debilyn Molineaux, project director forAmericanFuture.US This project's mission is to help everyday Americans to imagine a better future for themselves, and together we’ll write the next chapter of the United States of America.
Johnny Addams was interviewed in Omaha, Neb., on Nov. 12, 2023, as part of The Coffee Shop Tour. Ironically, he doesn’t drink coffee and we met at his home. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Debilyn Molineaux: How far would you like to imagine together? We recommend somewhere between two and 20 years. What sounds right for you?
Johnny Addams: Twenty years, to 2043.
DM: Where are you in 20 years?
JA: According to my desire for my personal life, I see myself in upstate New York, I’m living there with my family. I’m working as an airline pilot, flying in and out of JFK. Potentially living in the Buffalo area, and based at JFK from there. I have a lot of family and friends around me. A lot of them are in the Mormon community.
DM: What will you be most proud of?
JA: My marriage and family. We are very close. Who I’ve become as a man of faith with a close family. Being a pilot.
DM: How will you spend your day?
JA: I’m a pilot that generally flies internationally. I would have a couple of days flying, likely out of the country. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family, I have hobbies like fishing, playing with pets, and gardening. Maybe involved in advocacy for something down the line.
I want to spend a lot of time with my family when I have my off days, since I won’t see them when I’m working. I’ll do things with them that are recreational, like travel often. I’m hoping that’s an option in the future, meeting new people and exploring their culture with my family. We’ll also watch movies, go to parks. Family is my first priority.
DM: What is your family like? A wife? Kids?
JA: I have a wife, and at least three but as many as five kids.
DM: How old are your kids?
JA: The oldest is 15 and the youngest is between 2 and 7 years old.
DM: How will you feel, most of the time?
JA: When I’m with my family, I feel immense joy. I’ve been praying for a family my whole life. My family means everything to me, as my family in 2023 is everything to me now – they set a really good standard for me. Being a religious person, very religious, very involved with my church, I know that family is the most important thing in the world. And not in a metaphorical sense, but in a literal sense. They are a priority for me, everything else is secondary. I also feel joy when I’m flying. Challenges will come up, worldly challenges, and in 2043, I have confidence in navigating those challenges. I know that it will all work out.
DM: What will be your three-to-five priority values?
JA: Patience, for myself and others. I understand that what I want takes time.
More humility, more than I have in 2023. Being humble is necessary to take my life where I want to be. It’s hard to be too humble, this will be a lifetime pursuit.
Compassion for others.
DM: I want to go back to humility. What is humility to you?
JA: There are a couple of aspects. There is humility in admitting that you are not correct on something. That is a very difficult thing to do, especially for me. I recognize my challenge in 2023, and I want to change more so I can be in a situation where I have a family and a strong job. Again, humility takes a long lifetime to change. It will be vital. The second aspect of humility is the religious aspect. Humility to God, the Heavenly Father as we call him in our church. Being able to submit – we have a concept of submitting our will to the Father. We have plans (for ourselves), but He also has plans for us. We need to figure out and adapt to what He wants us to do.
DM: Similarly, can you dive a little deeper on what compassion means to you?
JA: Compassion goes along with humility. Accepting, in some ways, that you aren’t correct. A part of humility is compassion and treating people the way you want to be treated. Compassion is also understanding. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. As I look at others, I’ve wondered a lot about how other people think and how something might appear different to them. So compassion is slowing down a minute to consider what they might think, from their perspective. There is some curiosity, “why are they doing that?” instead of judging them.
DM: What does the community that supports your future need to include? It could be a physical community, faith community, pilot community. Define it as you wish.
JA: I’m planning my life around my current community, that’s the community of my faith. There is a Mormon community in Buffalo, where I’ll be. And I’m already part of that community. My future self will support me being a pilot that is not there 100 percent, the community will help with my family. I’m not connected deeply to the city of Buffalo itself, nor do I need anything from the non-faith community. I’m there, being a good person and contributing as best I can. My social life is centered around my faith community or with pilot friends. I’ll have a private pilot’s license and I’ll be able to fly small aircraft in and out. Aviation and faith are my main source of community. I hadn’t thought of how I might relate to the local community. I may reconsider this.
DM: Is there anything you can do today or in the near future to influence or co-create the community that will support you in 2043?
JA: In the back of my head, I think about the way the world is going with international conflicts. As a religious person, I believe in prophecy that it will get bad, but there isn’t a reason to fear. I’m prepared to adapt. In my faith, we are taught to plan for the future, not the apocalypse.
- The Coffee Shop Tour to discover what we want ›
- Envisioning an American future devoted to others - The Fulcrum ›