I think it was through watching Trading Places that I first became aware of the notion of "futures trading" - buying and selling goods not yet produced, on the basis of expert projections (I think??). Central characters in the film make huge amounts of money dealing on the basis of educated guess work and privileged information about future production - production which could be affected by a range of uncontrollable elements including weather and global politics.
Well its all old news now of course and we are all so much more familiar with the concept, the processes, the folly, the hubris and greed and catastrophic outcomes of that kind of finance.
But I have been thinking about futures quite a bit lately, with uncertainty about both my future employment and M's.
So thats us. Along with thousands - at least - of other people.
And I've been thinking about what a privileged position we personally are in to have the luxury of worrying and stressing about our future. It is undoubtedly a gross obscenity the way banks, businesses and individuals have made fortunes out of the lives and futures of those less powerful and less informed. But even those of us who have been less powerful and less informed may still be living hugely privileged lives.
Its really hard to write about this without sounding trite or glib but even being in a position of worrying about old age and pensions, or worrying about paying the mortgage for the next year or month or week - thats a luxury. A luxury in comparison with the lives of hundreds of thousands around the world who aren't sure if they will eat this day or this week, or whether they will be alive tomorrow.
And I'm not quite sure what to make of the fact that my best survival tactic at the moment is to live as much as possible in the present. To appreciate the very many good things in my life, to smell the sweet spring air and enjoy the flowers (and the tadpoles) and spend as much time as possible with family and friends. To live life every day, rather than being defined and determined by anxiety about the future which is, after all, uncertain.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this in the light of the experience of those hundreds of thousands who have no choice but to live absolutely only in the present because that is all they have. My living in the present is so much an entirely different kind of reality from their living - or surviving, if they can - in the present.
I am uneasy about the fact that thinking about this gulf of difference makes me feel better about my life and more able to cope.
It does make me think that focussing on living in the present as a way to counterbalance the uncomfortable "luxury" of concern about the future is therefore a kind of double-luxury.
My brain is in danger of getting entirely tangled up with these thoughts, especially at a rather early hour for Saturday morning (I will probably post this rather later after checking that it is at least semi-coherent...) (semi-coherent is good enough, right?) so I shan't go on any more.
But there is a post here at Brian Miller's blog which expressed very well a truth I have to go on and on trying to remember and live by.
And here is the latest tadpole update, about 4 weeks old, wriggling around with - I'm guessing - no thoughts of tomorrow.