So google calendar has informed me that as of today, I have been blogging for 10 years. I find it mind-boggling that 10 years ago, I was sitting in my high school webmastering class learning the basics of HTML coding. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, it felt like magic. How could a few little words and funny brackets typed on a screen turn into a colorful, dynamic, and interactive website? I had started the blog, more as a way to practice my skills than any actual need to write (which would explain why layout changes happened more often than actual meaningful posts). Things really got interesting when I was introduced to CSS and it gave the concept of web design new meaning. I remember being in complete awe of Stu Nicholls and his css play. The things he was able to do with just css alone really inspired me to play and discover for myself what was possible. My first host was with blogspot, one of the few easy self-publishing blog sites that allowed a fair degree of customization for anyone with the desire and the ability. I had both, and it was perfect. Back then, any curious kid with a computer and google could learn more about html and web design in 3 months than they could have gotten out of any textbook published–even one that had been printed that year. It was an exciting time with new developments happening at a pace far too quick for any book to keep up with. Pretty soon I was teaching my teacher and those textbooks were abandoned and resigned to the closet of obsoletes. To her credit, she embraced it, ran with it, and really did a lot for our little class of aspiring webmasters and webmistresses.
Those were the good ol’ days of Netscape and Internet Explorer, Angelfire and Xanga, and everyone with an ounce of tech savvy had some kind of personal web presence. It was the beginnings of the online social networks that define our web experiences today, and it was a way to express yourself–your style, your passions, and your thoughts. The kind of outlet every kid should have access to during those dramatic teenage years. The need to customize the look and feel of my sites took me beyond css and introduced me to photoshop and graphic design–two things I cannot imagine myself without now. Fortunately, I had a talented friend who, like me, genuinely enjoyed creating and together we taught each other and pushed our skills to new limits. She definitely had more design talent, but I had a better feel for the function and the workings of a website, so we complemented each other and made quite the dynamic duo during our few years of collaboration. No limits, no consequences, no reason to do what we did other than for the pure enjoyment of trying. I still miss those days. 🙂
But the web has moved on considerably in the last 10 years, and I have not been able to keep up. Obviously my dedication to optometry takes precedence, but it still amazes me how far things have come. The internet itself has been so revolutionary to civilization as we know it, and it is exciting to know that you were there for some of the beginnings. One day I will blow my kids minds by telling them we did homework without google by looking things up in dead tree encyclopedias. In the meantime, the skills that I began learning 10 years ago have served me well, both for pure enjoyment and for life. I love designing shirts, logos, and websites for organizations and groups I’m a part of. It is something I can gladly offer to friends and family, as well as employers. And nothing would make me happier than to see everything come full circle and create a website for my own practice one day. 🙂
UPDATE: While ruminating upon the last 10 years, I have decided that it was time to restart the posts. I felt 8 years worth of high school and college ramblings were 8 years too many to keep around. Therefore, you will see nothing is left from my college days and older. But don’t worry! I have not obliviated my thoughts, feelings, words, and stories from existence. No, they have been carefully exported and archived for posterity. They go to join my archives of my first two years at blogspot (ha! You didn’t know I still had those did you?). I felt it was time. Here’s to a new chapter in life, and another 10 years of blogging!