05 Jan Life In 2050
An edited version of this piece was published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly and is on sale from 29 December.
As we get to know this New Year, I am casting my mind even further forward to life in 2050.
The glorious thing about the future is that we each get to decide what we’d like it to look like, so here’s my version of life halfway through the 21st Century.
By 2050, Baby Boomers like me will likely be sitting quietly somewhere eating soft food and waiting for Nurse to bring us a pinot. Not a terrible prospect, and only right and proper that we are making space for our children and grandchildren to get on with things.
My granddaughter, Ariana, will be 37 years old and I picture her driving the Hover Car my generation was promised by “The Jetson’s” cartoon. If not exactly that then surely by now she is living in a fossil-fuel free, zero-carbon world.
Electric cars and electric bikes are universally affordable with charging stations as common as Vape stores used to be in 2023. Meanwhile, Vape shops don’t exist at all because everyone has worked out that breathing anything into your lungs apart from clean air is a stupid idea.
Instead of smoking or drinking, people will be micro-dosing psychedelics which will have the dual benefit of a) eliminating anxiety & depression, while also b) making you think your e-bike is a Hover Car.
In 2050, short-haul air travel is done by electric plane. They’re still working on electric planes for long-haul flights, but say they’re close to finding an extension cord that’s long enough – they’re pretty sure there’s one in the shed.
Ariana lives in a city which is actually made up of many small, self-contained and sustainable “villages”. Everything is in walking distance from home – work spaces, village schools, doctors and shops are all set around shared green spaces with swimming pools and playing fields.
The country is officially called Aotearoa following a referendum which confirmed what people were organically doing. We also had a referendum on the voting age which now starts at 16 and stops once you start listening to talkback radio.
While everyone enjoys a universal basic income, the wealthiest people in each village are the caregivers – the people who look after kids, the elderly and disabled and sick. That’s because people have decided to stop just saying thank you to nurses and teachers and mothers with words, and to value them the way we usually value things – with money.
Mostly this is down to the shift from Patriarchal Capitalism to Matriarchal Socialism. There hadn’t been an actual revolution – no one had actually smashed the patriarchy. The ladies had been threatening to do this for a while but could never find anyone to look after the kids.
Instead, in 2039 men decided they’d honestly had enough of being in charge of everything and they’d said, “You know what ladies? You really should have a turn. We’d quite like a bit of a sit down. We want more time with our kids, and maybe we’ll do some more gaming.”
Which was fair enough – the ladies had been Prime Ministers and Governor Generals and Chief Justices for a few decades, so it seemed about time they had a go at the jobs that actually involve money and power.
And what gets people out of bed in the morning? Not an alarm clock, but birdsong. The return of tūī and pīwakawaka to each neighbourhood is the clearest sign that the planet is beginning to recover and cool.
Ah, 2050. You sound lovely… Makes me want to stick around.