My thoughts on life

June 9, 2013 Blogging, Personal

Ten Years Ago

After hearing that I’ve been posting again, my friend Kai pointed out that the 10 year anniversary of my first post on my blog is coming up in a few weeks. He said I should do some anniversary posts, where I revisit some of my old posts and compare and contrast with my feelings on the same subjects today. Though there has been a long gap with no posts, and before that, a long period with very intermittent posts, it still amazes me that this blog has been around for nearly 10 years.

I did look back at my older posts, and I don’t remember writing many of them. Some I find amusing, some trigger memories and bring up old feelings, and some seem totally foreign to me, as though they were written by another person. I’ve been mulling over that thought for a few days, and realized that in many ways, I was a different person 10 years ago. Who was I? If I met that person today, would I like her? Would I dismiss her as childish and immature? Would I be able to impart some wisdom and help her through tough times? I can’t say.

When I wrote my first post, the website was very, very different. I knew HTML, but no PHP or even Javascript. I wrote out all of the markup by hand, in Notepad. There was no CSS, just a jumble of inline styles that only looked right in IE6. It was hosted on some free space with banner ads and a counter, and had a different name. Just the thought that I didn’t know any programming when I started posting completely amazes me. It’s what I do for a living, and I didn’t know the first thing about it back then.

The blog was actually how I learned PHP. I got help from a couple people I knew, and learned as much as I could from PHP Freaks. As I learned, I painstakingly transferred all of my existing posts into MySQL, and set up some logic — probably very bad logic — to organize them into pages. Had I lost interest in my blog, I almost certainly wouldn’t have the career that I do. I don’t know what would have become of me.

In the Summer of 2003, I had just had foot surgery, which is why I had so much free time to start such a time-intensive endeavor, and I had just finished my first year of college. I was staying with my parents on account of the surgery. It had been 7 months since the biggest tragedy in my life, and I was still very much in mourning. I needed people to talk to, and to comfort me, but my friends were working Summer jobs, or were spread around the country, and so I started writing.

The tragedy in question was the death of my very close friend, Eliana. She was killed instantly in a car accident that also took the lives of her sister and brother. The emotional wound left by her death was very deep, and still hurts today. 10 years later, I wonder what her life would be like today. I imagine she would be very successful, as she always was. She would almost certainly be married, with a blossoming career as an artist. Her death changed my outlook on life. For many months it robbed me of my ability to apply myself to anything for more than a few minutes at a time, and many days, I barely had the will to get out of bed.

Being able to write down my thoughts, and immerse my mind in an epic project like building a blog from scratch was probably one of the things that helped me get through such a tough time in my life. It helped organize my thoughts, keep me focused, outlet my emotions, and gave me something to be passionate about. The following year I declared my major (computer science) and started taking programming courses.

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