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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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facebook bringeth enlightenment

Posted 06-29-2011 at 03:25 PM by rocket357
Updated 06-29-2011 at 05:44 PM by rocket357

Facebook is an awkward place. Really, it is. It's a place where all the disparate facets of my life come together. Family, co-workers. Computers, grandmothers. Religion, science. Intelligence...well, I'll leave that one open to interpretation =)

Recently I got back in contact over facebook with a long lost friend from my childhood. As weeks went on, we commented on each other's posts, intrigued by the serious difference between the remembered friend and the new-found friend. One night I cut my thumb while chopping food for my 2 year old, and later I posted about it on facebook. My buddy jokingly commented "Jonathon + sharp object = scared David. Some things shouldn't be combined!"

It really made me think about how far I'd come since I was 15. When I was 15, I was playing lead guitar in a heavy metal band. I studied chemistry and physics relentlessly in pursuit of the perfect explosion. I car-surfed drunk, and drove a friend to the emergency room because he fell off the hood while car surfing. I wrote code to log passwords at school, then used those passwords to hijack a server at school. I drank heavily. I smoked. I did a lot of other things I'm not proud of...but somehow I managed to not get caught doing all of this stupid stuff that my parents would have probably killed me for.

After losing contact with my buddy, I did 5 years in the Marines. I raised even more hell in the Marines than I did in high school (and I was by far one of the calmer Marines in my unit). Looking back I started to wonder...when people around me experience pain and suffering beyond comprehension, when they continue down a self-destructive path into an abyss of drugs and alcohol, why didn't I end up there, too? I realized that something came along that meant more to me than having fun...something that re-prioritized my life. While I won't share what that one thing was for me, I can only say that when it hits you, everything will fall in line (If you've already experienced a forced "growing up" (for lack of better terms), you know what I'm talking about). I realized that the one thing in my life that keeps me going and keeps me moving forward in a straight path...the one thing I'd die defending...had such a profound impact on my life that I literally cannot imagine where I'd be if it weren't for the events that brought me to this point.

Now I'm a husband and parent. I'm a Unix Database Admin. I have continued the pursuit of knowledge, albeit to a different end (philosophy, math, and computers). I'm calmer and more reserved. I no longer drink and I no longer smoke. I have a mortgage, car note, life insurance, and a 401K plan. I have student loans...(God, do I have student loans!) A wild night now is sending the kids to grandma's house so my wife and I can get some sleep. I'm getting old...and I'm only 33!

Doubtless my friend has the same issues. He's older, wiser, and more conservative than he was before (granted, he wasn't nearly as bad as I was as a teenager, but he was young and crazy, too). He posted about an on-going legal battle he's been engaged in, and how things weren't looking good. I commented to the effect of "you can't fully appreciate the good times without seeing some bad times", to which he only asked "Who are you, and what did you do to my friend?". heh...I suppose I can't blame him for that line of thinking. I made quite a "first impression" as a teen.

Sad thing is, I wasn't really consciously aware that this "one thing" was so critical to me. I was aware it existed, but not that it was so important. What a startling realization...and it came via *facebook*, of all places...
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