That’s what my cake says. Who’d have ever imagined? Me, rolling on in my 13th decade? And they send me this, trying to get me back?
EARTH IS THE NEW FLORIDA
Old folks don’t want to go back to Earth once we float. We really like floating. We smile as our weightless heads gently bob, drifting off with no conscious muscles to stop the pulse of blood in our necks from mildly head-rocking us to sleep.
Why are they luring us with “Florida?” Because Florida was where mature folks went to “retire” even when Millennials were coming of age, at least back on my Earth. Nowadays the number of retirees has turned most of the Capitol Corridor into a settlement for the elderly. And most people are dead there by 105!
Other major U.S. population corridors like San Angeles, Seattlegon and Chicagoland also face major shortages of anyone under the age of 65.
In the mid-21st Century when the USA convinced Russia, the European Union, the UK, India and China to unite behind Project Otherearth by devoting 15% of their arms and defense budgets to the creation of the first artificial planet, the world entered a new age. The movement grows even today. We’re taking to life beyond Earth in a massive surge that some are calling humanity’s “space exodus.”
As humanity decides to move away from home, we don’t all go in the same direction. Some prefer trying to live on The Moon or Mars. As construction materials have improved and become affordable just as radiation vaccines have been perfected, the last two decades have experienced exponential growth of cities on The Moon.
Some throw their hopes into spinning space stations where millions live in artificial gravity and simulated Earth-like biospheres. Satellite communities at Lagrange points have rapidly expanded.
And some opt for the most radical shift possible, a completely zero-gravity life. The biggest and strangest pull of all – and the most unsettling to the elderly Millennial generation watching it happen – is the explosion of deep-space zero gravity cities where their human grandchildren transform into beings that will never touch foot upon Earth again.
A new species is aborning with our great-great-grandchildren.
Unlike helpless infants of the 21st Century, space babies are born able to move about independently within days. Undulating tail muscles take advantage of inertia by pushing against the skeletal frame in a whipping motion enough to offer propulsion in a vacuum of zero gravity. Digestion is directly linked to the bloodstream.
These babies are able to take calories through their palms via osmosis, holding dissolving “food.” Flavors and smells are also sensed by the palms. There is 100% digestive efficiency. And no body waste is produced.
Their communication is based on light and music, often in combination.
They produce complex layers of humming as well as optic bio-luminescent pulses in their middle eyes.
The importance of sound in an environment where a tiny tonal fluctuation can define a compliment from an insult and things approach from all angles, including from below, calls for powerful hearing.
A floating village blossoms within the upper atmosphere of Venus. Pioneers are opening up Mercury. And all the while, robots are preparing life’s way into the outer Solar System.
But of course times are bittersweet. It’s difficult for many old Millennials to imagine not seeing their family again in person. And yes, it’s also hard for us to imagine saying goodbye to the challenging but unique home called Earth.
What is growing “up” like where there is no “up?”
The primitive structures of schooling by unrelated subjects like we were brought up has been long-abandoned in favor of a year-by-year phasing of kids into their actual futures.
Every graduating class is expected to plan, build and inhabit their own new space habitat by the time of graduation. It’s kind of an apprentice type thing, I suppose.
At approximately age 6 children are teamed for Phase Zero habitat planning. Through goal-oriented play they become familiar with the basics of survival in space.
Around age 9 Phase One begins and kids are recombined for diversity and habitat planning moves into a more serious phase where new ideas are gestated, sometimes becoming permanent through the maturation and completion of the habitat.
By age 12 Phase Two participants are divided into teams that share comparable degrees of leadership, proficiency, inefficiency and failure. Incorporating mandated ideas from Phase One, they continue to brainstorm, compromise and agree on the community that will be theirs upon graduation.
By age 15 the beginning of construction marks the start of Phase Three. The future leaders of the community emerge as the foundations of the new space habitat are built.
By age 18 the new habitat is constructed and launched. This is the home that will be available to these people and their families the rest of their lives; the one place they are guaranteed a home to return to. This is their graduation present to themselves, their lifetime entitlement no matter where they roam. They can go home again.
Our kids of tomorrow will dream about the future city in the stars that they will help create, and their role in that improved, unique and hope-filled world…
And then stranger things will come out of the dark.