The Daily Post: Blogging 101: Be Inspired by the Neighbors Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!
I’m a natural born worrier. If the numbers of hours spent worrying would make you a professional, I could hang a BIG SHINGLE out and would no doubt be quite wealthy. “Come in and let me teach you how to worry about everything under the sun.” (My latest worry obsession is fracking. What’s going to happen, I asked my son the other day after another series of earthquakes, when we take too much oil out of the ground and it leaves too many holes? Will it shift the tilt of the earth on its axis and wreak all kinds of havoc on the planet? Seriously. I worry about that.)
Now, since reading Deb Baker’s post “On being discontinued” on bookconscious yesterday, I’ve not been able to get the idea of being discontinued out of my mind. I was a straggler coming into the whole electronics/media age. It was the VERY late 1990’s before we even had a computer in the house or a cell phone. By then schools were insisting that work be done and formatted on a computer and my poor kids were like, “Um… Part of my grade depends on this, mom.” But I had this niggling feeling even then that computers (in particular) were going to cause me a great deal of stress. I was right. (And Lord knows cell phones are right behind.)
I’m a kinesthetic learner. I can’t normally read instructions and learn how to do things. There’s a lot of muscle memory involved in my learning process. I had to sit down at the computer and have my kids walk me through it step-by-step ten times before I could get into my email. They began taping notes labeled “blonde directions” all around the frame on the computer screen. You know the big screens that took up the whole desk? And I was fine for awhile, UNTIL THINGS STARTED TO UPDATE. It would take me forever to learn something new and just when I had, it UPDATED again.
Pretty soon I was worrying constantly that I’d never be able to keep up, and that one horrid day I wouldn’t even be able to log ONTO the computer let alone my email. How do you avoid having to deal with that constant problem of it morphing into something else, I asked his lordship. “Buy a new computer every couple of years,” he said, and went back to reading his paper.
So I kept learning, pushing myself to take it all in stride. I even got adventurous once and ordered a used Pagemaker program from Amazon. We’d installed Pagemaker, a desktop publishing program, in the copy center I was managing to help design wedding invitations, business cards, forms, and whatnot.
I had taken a class at the local college to get me started on it. It was like playing with Colorforms (for those of you old enough to remember them). You could pick things up (pictures, text, etc.) and move them around anywhere on your page. I was in love!
I installed it on our personal computer so I could work from home, and I used it for years, until it began having issues. By then the owner of the business had closed the shop and taken the program with her. I was heart-broken. Then I ran across a used copy of it on Amazon. I was excited. A new program would have cost me well over $1000. I got the used one for $50. What a deal. Imagine my disappointment when our computer said it couldn’t install it. HL said it was because the computer was a new one, it was no longer compatible with that old program.
That’s when I started worrying about all things computer and electronic in earnest. By then HL had downloaded ten years’ worth of pictures on the stupid thing instead of having them printed. What if we lost them all? All those memories gone! And even though I’ve gotten more comfortable with the technology the last few years (comfortable enough to try THIS, for example), the idea of how fast everything changes scares the beegeebers out of me. It’s like static in the back of my mind all the time.
When I read Deb Baker’s blog yesterday, holy cow! It gave that scary word “discontinued” a whole new meaning to me. I began to wonder if people could not only be discontinued, but become obsolete? One only has to look around at all the folks glued to their phones to realize we no longer need a body to communicate with each other. Text messaging, tweeting, and God knows what else makes it possible for us to move through the day without even making visual contact with the important relationships in our lives.
I realized as I thought about her blog last night the reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it was because being discontinued or obsolete plays into my greatest fear, that of being alone. Alone is the most horrendous word in the English language to me. I fear being alone. I fear the day my kids don’t need mom’s advice anymore. I fear the day my husband passes (if he does before me). I fear the day I can’t drive and be independent. I fear that the medication for my diabetes will be too expensive when HL retires and we won’t be able to afford it. I fear unexpected noises. I fear the dark. I fear, I fear, I fear…
I thought when I decided to try my hand at blogging it would be a comfortable, non-threatening way to practice writing. I didn’t count on being confronted with some of the hard issues in my life. But doing that assignment yesterday for Blogging 101 has made me realize there’s a whole world of things out there in the blogging community that might scare the h*ll out of me.
Well, I’ve been tooting my horn about being a seeker. I guess it’s time I pull up my big girl britches and “Go and learn things,” as Dwayne Pride says on NCIS: New Orleans. Maybe if I get in the habit of facing opinions and stories and issues that rattle my cage I’ll actually conquer some of that fear of the world. You just never know.
I’m going to go read some blogs now… Wish me luck!