WHAT IF YOU could see into the future and preview your life for the next five years? Would you really want to know what’s going to happen to you and your family in advance?

Before you say yes, ask yourself if it would depress you to know the bad things that were going to happen. Wouldn’t you feel cheated missing the delightful surprise of the good things that are bound to happen?

The thought of predicting the future fascinates many of us. We can make educated guesses, but the fact is, no one knows for sure what will happen in the future.

In a similar vein, American author Dorothy Fisher once wrote “It is not good for all our wishes to be filled. Through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.”

When a new year begins, experts attempt to predict the trends. Some do it for pure entertainment. Others are paid big bucks to give investors and business leaders a head start. Many pregnant couples opt to wait to find out the gender of their child, adding to the excitement.

If fortune tellers were legit, they would all be rich; winning all the big lottery jackpots. We want to believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Life is full of mysteries and unexpected surprises.

Medical researchers may offer the best hope of peeking into the future. They are finding ways to predetermine if people are predisposed to serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and other life-altering ailments.

People must decide. Do they want to know their future? The answers may be good or bad. Part of the beauty of life is the uncertainty. What will each new day bring? Who might you meet around the next corner or when you walk into the next meeting room?

Would you read a 500-page mystery novel if you knew the secret ending in advance? Are movies as good the fourth time when you have already seen the ending? Would you pay $2,000 to attend a major sporting event if you knew who was going to win?

The present is the gift. It’s not the destination that thrills us, it is the journey. What we really crave and what keeps us motivated is the excitement and suspense of tomorrow. We can’t wait to see and experience the magic.

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HERE IS more data from the University of Southern Maine’s, in Portland, Maine, report titled “If the World Were a Village of 100” updated June 20. The analysis is a reminder to Americans to realize how fortunate they are to live in the country that we do. We need to appreciate what we have.

• Money. Six people own 59% of the world’s wealth (all are from the United  States), 74 people own 39% and 20 people share the remaining 2%. Twenty-one people live on $1.25 per day, the village spends $1.24 trillion on military expenditures and $100 billion on development aid.

• Freedoms. Forty-eight can’t speak or act according to their faith and conscience due to harassment, imprisonment, torture or death. Fifty-two can; 20 live in fear of rape or kidnapping by armed groups or death by bombardment, armed attack or land mines; 80 do not.

• Education and technology. Twelve are unable to read, one has a college degree, 12 own a computer and eight have an internet connection.

These are statistics to think about. We are blessed to live in America and we need to decide if our petty squabbles are really worth the discourse.