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My Life My Times


As the calendar turns the pages of time to a new year, it's a good time to put one's life into perspective. I often think about how my life intersects with history and I always conclude that I'm lucky to have been born when I was. What would life had been like if I was born in the 1800s, 1700s, or earlier? I make my living sitting in front of light box and pressing little buttons all day. There was no such profession in past centuries. No doubt I would have been a store clerk or an entrepreneur of some sort, but I count myself lucky to have been born at a time when the electronic age was blossoming and got to participate in the growth of the digital age.


My life, which hopefully is only midway through the third quarter, has seen a history unfold that would amaze everyone of prior centuries. At a young age I crossed the Atlantic without fear, but in the lap of luxury as a three year old on the Queen Mary. Today the Queen Mary is a museum to the accomplishment of worldwide travel in luxury. I've traveled around the world and while there are many places I haven't been, I feel privileged to experience what citizens from prior centuries were lucky to read about. The idea that you could step into a sealed metal tube and emerge in a new land still thrills me.


As a young child I remember watching man set foot on the moon. The memory is burned into my brain and it's one I revisit often. The idea that after thousands of years of evolution man found a way to leave the planet takes the popular escape room challenges to an amazing new level. And it happened in my lifetime.


I've lived through four presidential impeachments (not sure that's good or bad). I've shaken hands with a Vice President and photographed a two Presidents and a Queen. I've seen some of the most iconic bands that define classic rock and roll sometimes from the vantage point of having my elbows on the stage.


But I think I feel most privileged to have grown up at a time of a digital explosion. As a kid, trying to hear a song I was crazy about required either a massive time investment or enough money to afford a record. Today I can simply speak out loud and hear virtually any song I fancy any time I fancy it. And this happened in my lifetime.


I carry a block of electronics in my pocket the size of a large rock that connects me to the world. This electronic Swiss-army knife can capture the sights and sounds of my life, share it with others and give me access to the sites and sounds of the full planet. Information in the 1700s traveled at the speed of walking (4 miles per hour at a brisk pace) and now it travels around the globe at the speed of light. I know what's happening and I can access man's full compilation of intelligence using a single index finger. And this happened in my lifetime.


I have the ability (but can't image actually doing it) to record every moment of my life. I can publish this for the world to see and take responsibility for capturing and preserving my own history.


The quality of life is really measured in small little improvements and I've seen many.

I'm thankful for the scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs that built the foundation of knowledge and experience long before I was born to make my life one that filled my brain with information, filled my brain with entertainment and gave me access to the planets' wonders.



January 23, 2021

© Greg Harris, 2021

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