Letting Life Lead
I am completely floored that the blog that I had put off, set aside, sidestepped, and put off has reached over 100 followers across Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress in only twenty-three days.
I am in complete shock. Even more to my shock is how many of you return to read something. It may not seem like a lot to some people, but to me it is a big as having 1,000,000. I am not new to the world of blogging since my first single subject blog is five years old (born when my oldest minion was brand new), but it never reached more than two hundred followers in all that time. I have learned recently that I made an error in being shy about promoting my words, too reserved about visiting other blogs just to connect, and being too afraid to venture out away from comfortable group chatter to a wider audience. Learning the ropes has been quite an undertaking. I think I violated very many Traffic Dont’s my first time out there.
Thank you everyone for stopping to follow or like; and for taking a chance as I learn to find my writing voice again.
The last few years have been very difficult for me mentally because, as they say, time marches on. I have been feeling quite trampled like a stranger in a strange land that I once walked through when it was new with the confidence and curiosity of the young.
The Internet has gotten very big, and things have changed tremendously. I cannot adequately convey how much. The Internet went from PONG to PS4 in a short window of my life. My elementary school got it’s first computer that was only in the office and I was one of the few kid allowed to input data on it and they had to use a handset to connect; they were just starting to convert all their giant attendance books to electronic form. My first computer was a Commodore VIC20 circa 1983 that was a keyboard with the CPU inside it that you connected to your TV; you couldn’t save any data without one of these external hard drive bad boys and a pile of 5.1 floppy disks. My best friend had a Tandy and we got to play the original Oregon Trail on it in all its green glory. I went to computer camp in 1984 to learn how to do BASIC programming and to use the Commodore 64 (they had six and it was computer Nirvana), and later in 1985 at another camp the Apple II which had Bank Street Writer (a word processor program) and the very first adventure game I played called Transylvania (I remember the story very clearly and I was hooked for life). You can go to old school and play Transylvania here.
The first computer I had to connect to the Internet my grandparents bought me, and it was a Hewlitt-Packard circa1995 that had a terrible graphical navigation system called Navigator (take a look at it here, but it did have a cool remote); it was also my first CD player! I remember when I went to college and there was a single computer in the library that proclaimed that it was connected by Lynx. My inner geek nearly gave me whiplash as I walked by. What was this? I was hooked from first link. I possibly may have read all five pages that were available for viewing. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Lynx was a new completely text based browser at the time that is still in use today. Back then the internet was a lot less colorful and when pictures did begin to fill the sea of text, a 1200 baud modem (that’s the thing that connected to your phone line making it impossible for anyone else to make a call) couldn’t really handle the data. When browsers like Mosaic were born, people often still turned off all the images! There was Archie and Veronica, but no Ask Jeeves or Wikipedia. My second computer my grandparents bought as well and it was a PS1 Personal Computer. My first experience with Windows was Windows 3.1 on my first laptop. I was always behind the times with equipment, but I managed to keep up for a while with college resources.
Trying to talk to people at the time who weren’t already exploring the brave new world often would produce confused stares and almost a pat your head, “Oh, how nice. Electronic mail you say? Us normal people use stamps.”
Email was new, people were using telnet to dial to service providers, and the first personal webpages were little more than splash pages. AOL 1.0 and Prodigy were the first; I played games on the Imagination network and learned a hard lesson about the cost of online time if you weren’t careful (a $500 lesson). Kids, back in the day you had to pay by the hour, but sometimes you had a certain number of hours allotted to you for a single fee. Unlimited access didn’t exist! Soon it all exploded and soon everyone, and every business was getting their Internet on. For years, I could find my very first webpage “Truthseeker’s Haven” in the Wayback Machine. I learned HTML and built early webpages using a MAC with BBEdit and later Dreamweaver on a PC. Optimization once meant whether or not your webpage was readable on old computers and without pictures. The Netscape and Internet Explorer war was the biggest thing since the BETA and VHS battle. There was no brand loyalty; people went to whomever was offering free service like email or were experimenting with blocks of free time. I was among the ones who were taking college lecture courses on the psychology of online interactions and on how to build webpages by hand coding. I was so young and it was so exciting and new, but then it got to be too much for me with all the changes and the rapid growth of technology. AOL became a meat market of a/s/l and the innocent Internet entered a very scary adolescence. I shrunk back from that.
There was school, and bills, and surviving then later there was a husband, work, and kids. I was never gone from the Internet, but I stuck to the safe corner pockets of bulletin boards, AIM, and text based RPGs.
Everyone seemed to be connected. I still stuck to my safety zones, but was there when Youtube appeared. I heard news as everyone seemed to be getting on the MySpace (I had one but it got lost somewhere in the aftermath of the fight with Facebook). Facebook appeared and masses of people were posting pictures like it was a big gathering at a luncheon. I’d lagged behind, uninterested until my first was born and I found myself nap trapped and bored. I felt old and lost in a tornado of Reddits and Blogs and Instagrams and Youtubers. Had I missed the boat completely? I’d like a ticket back to 1999 please so I can start over!
I’m trying to carve myself out a space out here in the middle of the world trying not to regret lost opportunity, and the roads I had not taken when I had the chance. Time doesn’t care if you have regrets, it will just keep going on without you like that candy conveyor belt on I Love Lucy. You can let all those candies drop to the floor and cry, or you can jam as many of the ones left into your mouth and down your shirt. Step, aside Lucy, I’m ready to cram.
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