Life has a way of sneaking up on you. Later this year, I’m going to be turning 50. I can’t believe that I have actually reach This milestone, but it’s a reality that I have to face. My wife is also turning 50 this year. At least we can weep together when we hit this important milestone. Safe to say that our life of youth is now behind us completely. I, for one, am looking forward to the future in my 50s. I still can’t believe I’m saying that word. I am going to be 50. Where the hell did the time go?
Where Did the Time Go?
A few days after I was born, my favorite guitarist Jimi Hendrix died. I remember the incredibly ugly fashions from the 1970s. My parents had a god-awful green and yellow kitchen. I remember those colors vividly as it will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. One thing about the 1970s is people were not very color-coordinated. I can remember jumping up and down as I open my presents. I ran into my parent’s bedroom and much to the displeasure of my father, I showed him my new Star Wars action figures. I remember the streets filled with kids. Everyone was riding their bike, walking their dog, or playing games of street hockey all over the place.
“There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, 1977.
I can remember going to the field by my school where we play basketball, soccer, or have a game of baseball. There were no computers to occupy my time, so as kids, we had to occupy our own time. There was a ravine where I lived and I would often go down there just to explore. It was a great time to be alive and I had a lot of fun when I was a little kid.
I grew up in a time when computers were not common. Now, computers are everywhere, and we do almost everything in our daily lives with them. I can remember being in high school and working on simple IBM personal computers with floppy disks. It seems crazy that the computers today are now in the palm of our hands and even smaller. I’ve seen many different technologies and new inventions make our lives a lot better. At the same time, I have seen a lot of problems in our world. I’ve had to live through both Gulf Wars. I witnessed the horrors of 9/11 on television. There have been quite a few crazy times in my journey to turning 50.
Tear down this wall!”
June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan
I remember the news that John Lennon had been shot. I remember the day that Reagan almost died, and the assassination attempt on the Pope. I saw the spectacle of Charles and Diana’s wedding. I wanted my MTV, and I saw the Challenger explode in the sky. I will never forget the horrors of AIDS or the Live AID benefit concert for Africa. I can remember the excitement of watching the Berlin Wall come down. For me, that was an incredible time to be alive. All those people that were trapped behind those walls were finally free. I can remember everybody’s cheering on top of the wall as they smashed it. I was around for the technology boom and then the.com crash. I can remember working in my local car wash and seeing strange antennas on the cars. These are really expensive cars like Jaguars or Mercedes. Inside these cars with gigantic brick phones which were known as cell phones.
I came to play in Philadelphia because of the cause, because of Live Aid, of course. But I also came to have myself a good time. And I’ve sure as hell done that.” — On Live Aid
I used to look on at the fascination of these people that had this giant phone on her hand. I just couldn’t believe it. Now, cell phones are commonplace, and even young children have them. I have seen the corner phone booth completely disappear. I remember hanging out on a late-night and phoning my parents to let them know where I was from the local phone book.
When I was a small kid, I was playing with Atari 2600 which was one of the first video game systems. I thought all of those small pixelated graphics for the best thing in the world. All of my friends and I would get together and play Pac-Man or Asteroids. We would go down to the local arcade and play various games. I can remember learning to use a computer on Windows 3.1 and then hearing the whoosh of the modem is it connected to the Internet. I can remember browsing the internet for the first time. It was no more than a few paragraphs and if you are lucky, you got to see a picture. I remember it all.
The 50s and Beyond
As I move into this new decade of my life, I see more changes. We are witnessing the birth of robotics, AI intelligence, new medical breakthroughs, and other fascinating discoveries. At the same time, we’re going through a lot of political strife worldwide and I think this next decade is going to be quite an interesting one.
I’m hoping that a lot of the problems that I witnessed in the past don’t find their way into this decade. I hope that we can move ahead as humanity embraces the challenges ahead of us. We have a lot of work to do on this planet and we have to get together to get this done We cannot keep dividing ourselves. There is no way forward if we keep with the division.
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” — Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl
My sincere wish as I turn 50 is that we can somehow and, in some way, find peace. This is going to be difficult. I have more faith in the younger generations than other people might. It’s the younger generation that is going to forge the destiny for this planet. I don’t want to see any more 9/11s in my life. I don’t want to live through any more wars. I want us to work together. I want us to get things done.
I want to see everyone succeed. I want to see an end to poverty, homelessness, greed, suffering, despair, fear, hate, and other things that continue to divide us and separate us as human beings. We Are Better Than This. Look at all of the things that we have created all of the technology and everything that we have accomplished in 50 years if I live to be a hundred I want the next fifty years of my life to be the best ones ever.