Think, learn, work, and play differently.

We are living in unprecedented times of Back to the Future, a classic movie to mark changes in technological and social development. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, imagine an American science fiction travel experience. In the film, starring Michael J. Fox, his character Marty McFly travels back in time to meet his future parents. What he learns in the past changes his future.

Got a visual in your head?

Current events make it possible for us to live the back and the future. We remember the old way of doing things, which wasn’t long ago. Curious, how we went home day, not knowing that we wouldn’t be able to do the things we have come to take for granted. We live in times that parallel the Great Depression. One action, the stock market crash, had more ramifications then we could imagine. It’s similar today in the way that one tiny virus has enough variables to change world events and life as we know it.

We get to live in a testing ground few people can comprehend. On the other side, our futures will be forever changed by a technological explosion no one saw coming. To attend any social gathering, you’ve had to open your mind to what online technology we have at our fingertips. If this has you shaking your head, it will help to adopt a mindset like younger generations.

Be Willing to Change

If you don’t like change or are resistant to it, you will have a tough time adapting, you might be a Boomer. Embracing the stereotype, not only because my teenage daughter calls me Boomer on occasion, but because “Boomers” in large part are resistant to change. I am not a Boomer, at least not by age, but she likes to throw the term around to raise my dander during contentious moments. Your generation can learn a lot from younger generations who use technology easily.

Boomers, by definition, are people from 55–73 years old. If you defy the stereotype, I congratulate you. People who aren’t willing to change and adapt will be left behind in an explosion of technological developments that will become the new normal. If you’re offended by kids who are always on a device, this is an excellent time to be a little more like them. They already understand the technology we have and use it in creative ways.

Get on Board

Be open to using technology and use it in place of doing everyday activities. Try ordering groceries for delivery instead of going to the store. If you like to try on clothes before you buy them, you’ll have to get comfortable returning items by mail that don’t fit right. If you haven’t been accustomed to working from home or open to technology already available, you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable in this way, before new advancements leave you behind. We will work, play, and live differently. Millennials who carved out a niche in working home and having flex hours instead of a 9–5 office job have the edge in these developments.

Millennials, by definition, are people between the ages of 22 and 38. Millennials may have been the pretentious group who started this shift in thinking by not wanting to be chained to a desk. Millennials desire the freedom to move around and work when work fits best into their personal schedule, whether late at night or on the go. Millennials are the brilliant minds that challenged the status quo with a new kind of thinking that allows for freedom and to work from home during convenient hours.

Be Ready

Maybe you don’t fully align with either of these groups. If so, you’re probably in Gen-X. The musical genres of grunge and hip hop were born during your prime. Generation X is defined explicitly by people ages 38–54. Gen-X is frequently considered caught in the middle of Millennials and Boomers. I like to think of them as pliable people. These people are not closed off to new thinking and are ready to accept change and grow with it.

Be Open

Zoomers, people from ages 7–21, are most adaptable to thrive because they have open minds and are ready to try new things. Millennials paved the way for their way of thinking, and Zoomers get to walk through the door Millennials opened by offering input and testing the products currently under development. Zoomers get the first chance to use new advancements and give feedback during roll-out stages.

This group will be able to tell their grandkids about how school shutdown and all learning had to be completed online. Remember way back in 2020 when we got to…? I’m already jealous of the when I was growing up stories these kids tell. Those stories will have extra impact because they lived during a time of innovation and change.

Learn Differently

Both of my kids are Zoomers. I watch the way they adapt and learn in amazement. Neither will set foot in a traditional classroom for the rest of this school year, but both are learning through Google classroom and get in touch with people through hangouts and zoom-like functions.

I never thought band lessons could be taught via a video conference. They may not be 100% effective because of lag time, but the fact that they can continue at all is fascinating and better than canceling the activity altogether.

One is in a Taekwondo class on Zoom. She can’t spar, but she can work up a sweat and practice most of her moves. Electronic courses aren’t perfect for these engagements yet, but it’s people like her, attending live events who will improve this technology for tomorrow.

I’m not sure how a football, basketball, or baseball team will practice, but I’m confident that where there is a will, there is a way to continue.

Open Education

In the future, our educational institutions will have to adapt and change. If we don’t go back to physical buildings for a while yet, we must be willing to make allowances. Time will tell if schools and universities will ever be in full person-to-person attendance or if electronic participation will be part of our new normal. I suspect current Millennials and Zoomers will open new educational prospects we haven’t considered. These people groups are in a position to change our educational future.

Colleges and universities will have to be open to incoming applicants. They are the first people to be caught in traditional measurements that were abandoned overnight for pass/fail checkboxes instead of standard marks. Whatever criteria are presented for the basis of acceptance will have to be measured differently. Anyone finishing this year will not receive standard grades. Most have instituted lax grading systems to cope with current times. Teachers who weren’t already using online classrooms had to adapt quickly. Some left the profession when they couldn’t continue teaching and grading assignments the way they were used to.

Recreate and Re-Create

Both words apply to our future. We will amuse and entertain ourselves with activity differently. And, we will re-create differently too. We will give new life to everything we do in new ways. Don’t grieve what was. What was got us here and we can use what we have right here to shape a brighter tomorrow. Use time well to work, learn, and play. Before long, I bet we’ll be able to go just about anywhere from the comfort of our couch.

Are you ready to do things in new ways?

Work from Home

Our work environments will change too. Many companies who weren’t open to employees working from home embraced the changes and are finding employees can work from home effectively.

Workers who have families have had a delicate balancing act of work-family life. Never has the family had this much together time, but we’re figuring out how to work, live, and school kids from home.

Live Differently

Our lives will be impacted forever by adapting to technology and the way it is changing everything we do. We can embrace the changes or be left behind. We get to shape our futures by living both the back and the future. As we go back to the future, what inventions will we see? Dream for a moment, about the parallels of cars that fly with doors that open upward instead of outward. Dream about how we will live differently and embrace the future of our tomorrow.