Inge’s American future
This is part of a series of interviews by Debilyn Molineaux, project director forAmericanFuture.US. The 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.
This interview took place on Oct. 31, 2023. Inge is a personal, longtime friend living near a national park we both love. Over the years, we’ve communicated primarily on Facebook and it was refreshing to reconnect via a Zoom call. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Debilyn Molineaux: How far into the future will we travel today to visit your life?
Inge Schlegel: Five years.
DM: OK, that takes us to 2028. Where are you?
IS: Same location as now, in California. I’ll be 72 then.
DM: As you observe yourself in 2028, what are you most proud of?
IS: I’m really proud of living a good, decent life. I’m proud of making it, without accumulating any more enemies.
DM: Any more enemies?
IS: Yes, I’ve learned to shut up when I know it’s not going to go anywhere in a conversation. I used to post a lot of political things and I lost a lot of friends. That was really painful.
DM: Ah, that is really hard. Is there anything else you are proud of when you are 72?
IS: I have a really large group of great friends, which is such a gift. And it didn’t happen by itself. But it’s very enriching because my friends live all over the place. I have a handful of best friends I could call anytime. I’m proud that I have so many resources.
DM: As you observe yourself in 2028, how will you spend your day?
IS: I will still be walking with the dogs, going outdoors, enjoying my surroundings. Healthwise, I hope I am the same size ... height-wise. I’m still exercising, keeping pace with the natural way of things. Not sure if I’m doing some type of work. I might be. I may be studying to recertify my nursing work, that is every five years. I keep a routine – I like to get up early. Make tea or coffee, walk the dog. I’ve cultivated these habits that work for me, I meet my spiritual needs with meditation and reading scripture. I use the Halo app, or something like this. I enjoy looking and exploring other spiritual avenues. I like to take many different classes, like The Daily Om. I don’t get bored.
I stay interested in what’s going on in the world, a healthy balance of C-SPAN and hearings, getting news from many sources. I may be teaching somewhere, about current events. I’m planning another trip because I enjoy traveling. I’m figuring out how to manage with limited resources.
I love spending time in my garden! I have a lot of self-care and other interests like gold-panning and target shooting.
DM: In 2028, how will you feel, most of the time?
IS: I feel pretty energetic. My number one feeling is gratefulness. When I have a grateful heart, I can remember five things every day and then the bad things don’t overwhelm me as much. It’s just part of me now and I’ve decreased the use of anti-anxiety meds. I feel playful and amused. I like watching comics such as Johnny Carson and Robin Williams.
DM: In five years, what will be your three priority values?
IS: Maintaining my health – mentally, physically – so I can maintain my independence as much as possible. Sharing kindness, being there for other people. Having fun.
DM: What does the community that supports your future need to include?
IS: I need space or physical areas to be active and meet other people, like cafés and parks. I’ll need commuting and transportation options to get around. And I’ll need class options. There are a lot available online already. Some in-person classes would be nice.
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 2028?
IS: I nurture my community all the time, but there is a Sierra hiking senior group – I’d like to be part of that.
Here's my invitation to you, and all Americans. Spend five minutes every day thinking about your future self, feeling those feelings, and include a sense of awe and wonder. This is based on neuroscience research that shows we subconsciously create what we focus on. So the choice is ours: We can actually co-create the future we prefer instead of choosing from the dystopian options presented to us. You can find a self-interview and others’ stories atAmericanFuture.us.