I didn’t grow up on the internet. I was not on Facebook in high school or college. I did have a dial-up modem and an AOL screen name by the time I was in middle school (Kitty0000000), but was not online even a fraction of the time I spend on here today. Although I didn’t grow up here, I am now a grown-up here. What did I do before? Talk on the phone??! Use the Encyclopedia? Develop film instead of uploads?!? Yipes.
Most of my waking hours are spent on the computer. I am not proud of this, but it is how my life is set up right now. Sometimes I envy those who have jobs where they are not sitting at the machine all day long. My friend’s mom is a florist, and barely uses email. CRAZY—or crazy good? I just can’t fathom checking my email only once every couple days. Sometimes I will send one to someone that doesn’t live on their computer. Often, these people won’t respond for a few days. WHAT? Why aren’t they checking it? Immediately?!? Why isn’t Gmail open in one of the tabs of their browser at all times? Then I remember that some people are still normal humans that can survive more than 24 hours without the internet. Astounding.
I grew up before the birth of the internet– or at least the explosion of the online world that I know and love today. What did I do for fun? Built rock houses….as in multilevel shoebox condos with handmade furniture–for rocks. Went boating…in a laundry basket on my parent’s water bed. Puppet shows and puppet dentist (yep). Had clubhouses and tree houses that were totally awesome. Built full stores with drive-thru windows out of ever-present moving boxes in the basement. Popped tar bubbles in the road (the best)! Rode the unicycle…um yes. Captured the flag. Built forts. Played in the creek. I am sure my brother could add some classics to this list as well. When we were little ones, we played everywhere except the internet.
My friends and I grew up imagining up our own fun, rather than having it served up instantly online. My family did eventually get a Commodore 64 that had some pretty sweet games. We even had a sweet joystick controller! I can’t honestly claim that I never sat at a machine during my entire childhood, but the majority was spent away from it. Are young kids totally glued to it these days? I don’t really know a ton of kids I guess, but I feel like they are more plugged in than ever. That is a generalization of the modern child I suppose, but what do I know? Will I let my own kids hang out on the computer for hours? I may be guilty of romanticizing my own internet-free childhood to an extent, but sometimes I wonder if I would have grown into the creative person that I am today if I had been online instead of outside. Maybe I would have be more exposed to new ideas online and thus more creative? Hmmmm…
Being an adult that hangs out online all day, I just can’t see living without it at this point. It broadens my little world and I adore it. It also brings my favorite people within close reach and I can talk (type) to them at a moment’s notice. Even if they are “Away,” they still seem close by. I am not a crier—maybe once a year if that—but when a computer crashes and dies I will get all snot faced and emotional about it. (I just realized how pathetic last sentence is…insert *sad crying emoticon*) And nothing frustrates me more than a loss of an internet connection. I would certainly like to be on the computer less than I am now, but that probably won’t happen for me for awhile considering what I do for a living.
Tonight, I just started using Google Reader (late bloomer), which is a whole new addiction that I am enjoying. Why didn’t I use it before? I ask myself this every time new technology comes into my life. When I get my iPhone someday I will probably kick myself for a full month for waiting so long. Then inevitably break it and probably cry in public.