I started this on New Year’s day, but didn’t have the time to really focus on it and finish it – so I’m doing that now. It’s a few days late. I’m sure you can deal with it. Happy New Year!
The rain greeted me for new year quite effectively – the mountains were invisible in the mist and cloud, and everything turned that pallid grey that Vancouver becomes in the winter.
There are plenty of things about 2010 that are worth noting in my life. For one thing, I’ll have been recording my life online for ten years as of May 2010. Adam and I will have been married for five years as of September 2010. I’m in my fourth year at the same workplace (an unthinkable anniversary, if you look at my previous job record of approximately 9 months per company.) How very strange.
This time last year was all about Lyra. Naturally, it is this year as well. Babies and toddlers pretty demand nonstop attention, and being a parent doesn’t just go away at night when I want to sleep, or during the day when I’m at work. It’s such a fundamental shift that it’s part of everything I do now, even the things I do just for myself.
She now picks up a word or two (or more) an hour, and recognizes and names objects, people, animals, and food regularly. She pointed at the Cookie Monster on my Sesame Street google doodle shirt today when I asked her to find cookie monster… and then she growled and went OM NOM NOM. She then moved on to pointing at Elmo and saying ‘Emmo’ – because it seems there’s no way to escape the little red monster. She meows back at Dayle and Sera if they make any noise, and knows them both by name. If I ask her what a cat says, she says MEOW. And she’s trying to say more complicated things, like octopus (ocopo) and alligator (agaga). She loves fish (ish) more than I can possibly explain, and will yell BALL before she bounces one across the room. She’s listening and learning, and it’s more fun every day.
I’ve been back at work for half a year now, and finally feel like I’m figuring out what I do again. It didn’t help that what I used to do basically changed while I was on maternity leave, and when I got back there were a bunch of new people on my team… and I had a team, which was also very weird.
It would seem that social media, that which I have been partaking in since about 1995 or so, has actually become a part of my job. I’m pretty sure I’m qualified (as much as anyone is, and more than most people at my office I think) to navigate these strange social waters, but it’s a weird thing for me to contemplate. Fifteen years ago I was lonely and bored and the computer became an outlet for me. The people I found on the far side of the magic box became my friends, therapists, family, critics, editors, supporters, fans, enemies… the online social realm was at one point more real to me than the physical world. My online life help me rebuild my offline one; it was good for me. I am a better me for having been a part of so many of these things, and in no way do I feel like I lost that time, that I should have been doing something more constructive.
The fact that my job actually integrates this part of my life now is, in a very real way, satisfying. The online world isn’t evil, or stealing my time from more valuable interactions (if I want to go biking, facebook and twitter aren’t going to stop me), and I don’t feel like it’s all taking over my life. I was addicted at one point – the late 90s and early 00s was probably the peak of that time for me – but there’s so much more to my life now that isn’t online that I’m pretty confident in saying that it’s not like that now.
Sometimes I do feel like I need to defend myself from the haters. There’s such a huge backlash against the internet from the folks who rant about how much they hate social networks, cellphones, or video games – much like when I first got involved in IRC and was labelled an antisocial nerd type. It was a way to make friends for an awkward nervous girl, and it worked rather well. I’m still friends with people I met online in social networks over 13 years ago. This is a part of my life, and I probably don’t really need to defend it anymore. I am my network. My network is me.