I turned a quarter of a century old yesterday. I generally don't get around to writing about something until at least a day after it's happened. I meant to write something when it was 2 years after everything changed (graduated, got married, moved out, started a job) but I never got to it. It's now at month 27 and some days since everything finished happening, so it's kinda pointless to cover all of those details.
At my birthday party, we were discussing briefly what has happened in the past 25 years, and it occurred to me that, of all of the historical events that I get to be a witness to, mine are mostly about things blowing up.
I got to see the Space Shuttle Challenger blow up. Live, on TV in my classroom.
I got to watch the World Trade Center crash. Replayed video for the first one, but I watched the second tower collapse, live on TV. Everybody was Americans for a few short weeks. Then they were sympathizing with us.
I got to watch Gulf War I, Afghanistan, and Gulf War II live on TV. In the intervening time between Gulf War I and Gulf War II I changed from an ambivalent pro-war person to a (metaphorically) armed pacifist.
I got to watch as the Space Shuttle Columbia fell in pieces over Texas.
My mother got to watch the moonwalk when she was younger. The only significant non-failed space things I got to see was Voyager at Neptune, one successful mars landing, and the construction of the ISS, none of which are too inspiring.
Seeing a Concorde in New York on one of my trips out there was so very poignant for me because it's going to be retired soon, it's a beautiful machine, there's nothing before it that is anything like that (save the Tu-144 Concordesky) and there's nothing waiting in the wings to replace it.
I traveled to Hong Kong, which is now theoretically part of China. If those water walls don't work, Venice is going to slip under the ocean waves, so at least I'll have been there before that happens.
Not everything's particularly grim. I got to watch as the geeks triumphed on earth, for a span of time, and ran computer technology on fast forward. I've had a webpage for a very long time. I got to see the Space Shuttle Discovery land as a kid. I got to read Neuromancer before the stuff referenced started to look dated.
I've already got a collection of "When I Was Your Age" stories to tell the kids. My first computer had 64k of RAM and ran at 1 mHz. In my pocket, my PDA has 64 megs of RAM and runs at 400 mHz (Ironically enough, the XScale processor in my PDA was developed by Acorn as a replacement for the 6502 that was in my Apple II and the early Acorn computers)
I got to watch the fall of communism in Russia and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I watched the first episode of what is probably the best Star Trek series to be made, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I was one of the first folks on my dorm floor to have a 3D accelerator that could play GLQuake. I played the original Castle Wolfenstein.
I saw Stabbing Westward in concert when they opened for Depeche Mode, before they had their first big hit. But I didn't get to see them a second time before they broke up. I had an MP3 collection before Napster was even built.
I watched the Reds sweep the world series.
I guess I'm not too depressed about how things are so far. It's just that all of the big things that everybody's going to remember are all about stuff blowing up.