As 2018 starts, the news will be full of predictions for the upcoming new year. We’ll all make resolutions that most of us won’t keep and life will go on. Over 100 years ago, people were doing the same thing and, John Watkins, a reporter, had some eerily accurate ones to show what the next 100 years would bring.
Since the year was 1900, that meant that the average American only lived 48 years, families had about four children (one child could be expected to pass away before the age of five), and the family income was only $3000 (in today’s dollars). Many children labored in factories and only four states allowed women to vote. If you reached the age of 21 and still had both of your parents living, that was unusual. All in all, not an easy time to live in yet Watkins predicted some pretty fantastic things in this era.
In 1900, the Brownie camera was for sale for $1.00. It was a box with a lens and all the film had to be developed. Watkins said this about the future: “Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence, snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later…. photographs will reproduce all of nature’s colors.” This was at a time when it took at least a week to get news from places like China. He not only foresaw the advent of a “digital” means of transferring an image but also that news would be instantaneous and in color!
Telephones consisted of crude cigar boxes with receivers and batteries. The phone book was so small that it was published in the newspapers. Wall phones and phones that hung from the ceiling were just beginning to come into use but yet Watkins actually predicted cell phones. “Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn.”
Trains in Watkins’ day reached speeds of 35 – 40 MPH. Watkins wrote, “Trains will run two miles a minute normally. Express trains one hundred and fifty miles per hour.” It took almost 100 years to come true, but to someone who has only gone 40 MPH, how could he even imagine going this fast?!
He also accurately predicted television, stating, “Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.” The first television was invented in 1923, but it took until 1946 to have 6000 sets in use.
So, what is it that YOU can imagine? Can you see things in the future that no one else can? Can you put an action plan in place to improve the world, help make life more joyful, or solve a problem? Do you know your place in the world? Do you have a sense of destiny? Even if nothing else, the new year should be a time of reflection, a time to make choices for the coming year and to decide how you want this new year should unfold for YOU.