3.1 at 31
I am now 31. I grew up in a time right before the internet became prominent. I was born the tail end of 1983, and remember a childhood with a father in the fledgling voice recognition industry. Windows 3.1 was the main OS used in offices and homes, and people had the original squat, all in one Macintosh computers that seemed like cartoon versions of a computer to me. Hence I loved macs, but my dad was a PC guy. More useful I suppose.
The world then was not the hub of global inter connectivity that it is today. Ideas weren't created, popularized, criticized and forgotten in the span of a week. I remember everything feeling slower. Life is definitely speeding up.
At this point, I should add that I do not in any way consider this to be a bad thing. The internet by and large, for better or worse, I believe, has advanced the human race. We are living in an extremely exciting time. The beginning of the information age.
I have a unique perspective given that I have literally seen this change happen within my lifetime. And not in a esoteric out of touch with reality way. This happened to me during my adolescence. The internet and I share a similar development period. But where the internet is Einstein, I aspire to be Socrates. Most people below 15 years of age don’t know about dial-up connection, or if they do, it is seen as ancient technology. I see my nieces and nephews on iPads and iPhones, completely plugged in. And it’s wonderful. They are learning things so quickly, and becoming farther developed earlier than I remember developing myself at the age of 10.
When I was 10, it was 1993.
The internet was a newborn babe with umbilical chord still attached. I used to sit in my dad’s office after school playing Ski-Free and getting inevitably eaten by the snowman until he got off work. The original Doom had just come out, and I remember one of my dad’s friends showing me how to shoot the horrific pix-elated aberrations that would pop up on the screen.
I was hooked. I didn't want to leave that day.
As I mentioned before, the world is speeding up. And what I mean by this exactly is that I believe the rate in which we perceive time to pass is speeding up. Things happen quickly, and we get pushed and bustled around. Life is finite, you only have a certain amount of time so don’t you dare waste any of it. This is the world’s mantra. While it completely rings true, it simultaneously births the concept that we must constantly be focusing on the future, at the expense of the present moment. The present moments are important. It is where you live, and the simple act of paying attention to your breathing can bring peace to even the most troubled mind.
With that said, we can also pursue a second extreme. We can focus too much on the present moment, at the expense of the future. Ideally, there should be a healthy balance between the two, with time to focus on both. Time is both our greatest asset, and the thing we never have enough of. So we should always endeavor to use it wisely.
I constantly try to put myself back in the mindset I had when I was a child. With everything moving so fast, it is easy to go for breadth, instead of depth. And I find if I can get into the emotion of a slower time in my life, my reflections swim deeper, and emerge more complex when the product finally surfaces.
The ideas of past times are still useful. We can channel them into the manic dash of information. The land of multiple wolves, one slab of meat. Using the wisdom of slower thought, we simply cut the meat into multiple pieces and share. This idea seems antiquated even as I sip and savor my coffee and type. But it is the truth of what works. And with all the modern marvels, the blinking lights, the swirling surge of information that threatens to disturb my peace. I miss Windows 3.1 at 31.