You’re Not a Late Bloomer. You’re A Technical Wonder.

You’re Not a Late Bloomer. You’re A Technical Wonder.

posted in: Essays | 3
In 1986, I built my first computer, a 286 with a 20 megabyte internal hard drive, the first of its kind. (Remember disk swapping?)

I got the parts through an employee special purchase, probably because they were almost obsolete, though I didn’t know it.

That PC 286 cost $1200, with discount. Twice the average of today’s laptop. I was 27 years old.

It sat in boxes for 3 months before I got up the courage to assemble it.

I enrolled in a DOS class, so I could communicate with it. I still see its green cursor flashing against black (made so iconic in The Matrix), waiting for my command: dir c:/

It changed my life.

PC 286I’d taken a mag card class in business school, several years earlier. But I wrote all my term papers on an IBM Selectric.

In 1994, I watched my five-year-old niece navigate Windows like it was second nature. I’d just switched from necessity. I was a 35-year-old grad student competing with kids ten years my junior.

I remember my first encounter with Mosaic at UCLA’s computer center, my utter confusion as I tried to grasp this early incarnation of a Web browser.

The teenager next to me asked kindly, “What are you looking for?”  He gave me an enthusiastic one-hour tutorial.  I wish I could find that kid and thank him again.  Because he, too, changed my life.

My point is:  My classroom schooling did not include computing. Nor, I suspect, did yours. I didn’t touch a PC until I was in my late 20s.

Yet here we both are. With sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, who made their fourth grade show-and-tell presentation in Powerpoint.

Millenials, today’s 20-somethings, have never known life without a cell phone or computer. They’re taking technology to a whole new level—escaping the cubicle, becoming location independent, and rethinking retirement.

We can learn a lot from them.

In the meantime, if you were born before 1965 and you’re reading this—lean back, stare at your amazing technicolor monitor, and congratulate yourself. You’re a life-long learner.

You taught yourself what your sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, simply absorbed through cultural osmosis. The coming decades are not just theirs.

They’re ours.

3 Responses

  1. Untemplater
    | Reply

    Thanks for the mentions! I can’t imagine life without computers. I feel like my laptop is attached to my hip. Same goes with my smart phone. It took me a while to buy into the idea of smart phones after using a basic clamshell phone for years, but once I switched I never looked back!

  2. Dee
    | Reply

    Love this post.I watch in awe at the technical skill of my 4 and 5 year old grandchildren. Thankfully they watch in awe at the technical skill of their Grandma…… 🙂

    • Debra Eve | @DebraEve

      Those young ones nowadays are astonishing. However, I just popped over to your site and you look too young to be a grandma!

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