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From H.G. Wells to "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," the concept of time travel has been with us for well over a century—if only in science fiction. What if it were to become fact, though?


A recent nextavenue.org article suggests that boomers would be less enthusiastic about time-hopping than their younger counterparts ("Why Boomers Don't Really Want to Time Travel," January 2015).

 

Citing a survey from the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine, the article reveals that just 3% of over-65s would go back or forward in time, if given the opportunity. That compares to 10% of people in the 18-49 demographic.

 

We can only guess why boomers are less keen to visit a different time:

 

  • The more time they've spent on the earth, the less they may feel inclined to go back or forward.
  • Experience teaches us not to romanticize the old days: Sure, the fashions may have been appealing in Jane Austen's time; the lack of antibiotics, not so much.
  • The older one gets, the more content he or she is living in the moment. As the Buddha put it: "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

 

Research suggests that lifetime happiness follows a U-curve, with a lull in the middle (also known as the mid-life crisis). A recent Atlantic article ("The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis," November 2014) cites U.S. Gallup Poll data showing that people in their 90s rate their level of life satisfaction around 8.5 (on a scale of 1 to 10), while those in their late 40s and early 50s rate theirs at a paltry 7 (the lowest number for any age group).

 

If you could jump into such a machine, where in time would you choose to go?