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Not Yet Grumpy Old Man

Friday, December 30 2005

Today is a special day. Not only is it my birthday, it’s the only birthday I’ll ever have where I’m 30 on the 30th. Happy birthday to me.

It’s pretty amazing that 10 years ago still seems pretty fresh in my mind, but then I get to thinking about all the things that have changed in 10 years. It’s pretty amazing. Here’s my quick list of observations:

1. The World Wide Web. I started working for an ISP 10 years ago, right when the idea of having a corporate web site was starting to become very desirable. I learned ColdFusion and database design that year, and was on fire with the power of web applications. Within a year or two, I started my own dotcom with friends.

2. The Internet Boom. At the age of 22 or so, a VC sat across the table from me and explained with a straight face that my company wasn’t a desirable investment opportunity because we were turning a profit. I’ve never trusted VCs since, and I’m forever grateful he didn’t put money in our company.

3. Columbine. The shootings at Columbine made me realize how deep my compassion for people suffering really was. I cried for the kids and the parents of that school for weeks, and even writing about this now brings back the pain.

4. September 11 and War. Who knew that following the boom times that there’d be two crashes of totally different kinds. September 11th changed me as a person. I rallied behind our country, forever a patriot. Since then, my political views have changed drastically. I have an intense distrust in the government. I become nearly ill when I tally up the freedoms that were earned by the founders of our country that are now under constant threat by our own government. Freedom is not fought and won by fighting a war based on faulty intelligence. Freedom is won by teaching people to love, honor, and respect their fellow man, and to respect and adhere to the Bill of Rights that our founders fought for.

5. Marriage, Kids. It’s hard to sum up what kind of change this has on a person because you’re so busy and in the thick of it that you hardly have time to reflect. Mostly I wonder what I could have possibly done with all the free time pre-kids, and feel guilty for not getting more done during that time. To say kids motivate you to do good is an understatement of monumental proportions.

6. Technology. Holy cow, a lot has happened in 10 years. Less than ten years ago, I got my first mobile phone and it was the size of a brick. No one else carried them. Simply talking on one would get your sneers or stares as people were either disgusted by your display of gratuitous technology use or curious about how a young 20 something could afford to use one. I couldn’t afford not to at the time.

And video games. 10 years ago I had Quake, which was the bleeding edge at the time. I fired up the original the other night and compared it to the latest Doom title and was amazed out how inaccurate my memories of the game were (and how terrifying the newest Doom is, like for real scary).

I shudder to think what my children will be playing at the age of 20.

7. Katrina. Whether this one will last in my memories is still yet to be seen, but up until Katrina I had a certain amount of faith in the ability for organizations like FEMA to organize and do what’s right in the wake of such a disaster. No longer will I ever assume that any authority will be able to help me in a similar case. I’m not some crazy anti government radical. If my house is destroyed, I won’t expect for a second that there’s anyone who can help me but me.

Taking the good with the bad, the past 10 years have been good. The growth and understanding I’ve gained are great, and having a bit more maturity under the belt certainly helps. I certainly know more now than ten years ago about what’s important in life, and that tied with my hunger to create and make fun things is a good combo. I’m looking forward to the next 10.