Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blast from the Past

In the past couple weeks I've been trying to salvage what's left of value from my once-beloved webpage. I started it back in college sometime during my freshman year. It was basically a nice, creative setting for a bunch of links that I thought were cool...from stuff in my hometown and profiles of my good friends to hockey sites and other random links. Eventually much of the site took a turn toward webcams, generally those of the scenic variety. I also had quite a few pages with pictures of my life--friends, vacations, and other fun shots. I think I stopped updating most of the site (save for one section) about three years ago. And even then, it was maybe a couple times a year. I'd been sort of torn since then about what to do with it. It was outdated to the point that I'd never want to put the time or effort into updating it, but I didn't want to delete it either. Well, Geocities made up my mind for me. The site is closing down next Monday, taking my site with it. I obviously have it saved on disk from way back, but there were certain things that I still referenced on the site or wanted to keep handy once the site went away. A lot of it is ending up on Facebook. So far I have just transfered over my old pictures. In the next couple weeks I'm hoping to add dozens of cool webcam pictures (beautiful sunsets, random moments, cool places) that I've saved over the years. I also need to somehow keep around my insane dissertation on my memories of the Aud and my fantastic list of holiday webcams--mostly German Christmas markets--which was the one page I kept updating all these years later, but I haven't quite figured out if I can just copy and paste it (links and all) into Facebook, or if I'm going to have to recreate it completely. Ugh. Anyway....

The reason I bring this up is because looking back into that site has been a funny trip into my past, to an era before Facebook, before Jacob, and in some cases even before Craig. It's a window into my interests over the years. And I guess I find that particularly interesting these days because I feel like my interests have become quite limited. In fact, at a wedding we were at a couple months ago, a nice woman sitting next to me asked about my interests, and I came up blank. Even the "Interests" section of my Facebook profile is a little lacking. Ever since Jacob was born, my world has revolved around him, and that's about where things sit to this day. Sure, I watch TV, I mess around on the internet, I listen to mostly Christian music, and I still watch sports (albeit not as actively). But no matter how hard I try, I struggle to get much beyond those things. The point is, if I have interests, exploring them further has generally taken a backseat to Jacob. And the time that Jacob and any Jacob-related tasks take up generally pushes back other necessary household tasks, and by the time I get those done, there's very little time to do much for myself. And I know I've mentioned it before, but that's the same nasty slippery slope that ends up putting women on "What Not to Wear", because they just stop worrying about themselves and lose their individual identity. Appearance-wise I've done my best to maintain some self-respect, but I think I've failed myself a bit on the personality/interests side of things. And don't get me wrong, I think it's for the best reason possible. But it's a tough sacrifice, and perhaps not a smart one. What happens when you finally do have time to explore other interests and there's nothing left that relates to who you have become? Forgetting yourself is a good way to end up both bored and boring down the road. I'll definitely have to do a better job with that, but I'll admit, it's tough.

Another thing that struck me as I looked through dozens of old webcam pictures was the sense of adventure I once had, imagining myself jetting off to any one of these amazing places. Nowadays I feel fortunate if I get out of Rochester, and I'm even having some anxiety about going somewhere for a long weekend without Jacob in the coming months. I still want to get out and see new things, but I suppose it's not as necessary now that I have such a precious thing right here in my midst. But I know that Craig and I do need time away to relax and reconnect. Just as I sometimes lose myself, it's easy to lose sight of how important the husband-wife relationship is once it has shifted to daddy-mommy. But seeing pictures of places I'd forgotten about, places that I've long dreamed of traveling to, really made me realize how my focus has shifted. I've noticed that elsewhere since I've become a parent, how some things that seemed so important are so trivial now. I used to spend hours during my weekends alone shopping, watching TV, or doing whatever else I pleased. Now...well, I hardly ever make it to the mall unless I have to, I can't remember the last time I watched an episode of "What Not To Wear", and I haven't worked out on a weekend in ages. One of Jacob's book orders (yep, they get them at daycare, too...oh, how I loved them!) had the computer game "Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum" in it. I wanted that game so badly for so long a couple years back, and they had it at a great price. But I didn't get it, for the same reason I never got a Nintendo DS, which I really wanted for a while too...because I don't have enough time for the important things in my life, let alone for video games. So while all these things, my website included, were so important to me a few years ago, now things are so much different. I still value this blog and Facebook when it comes to online stuff, and I do still enjoy looking at webcams...but I would say that things are much more streamlined and purposeful. This blog is a great communication tool and a nice creative outlet. Facebook is also nice for communication and sharing things with the world in general, albeit in a more focused manner than the web as a whole. My webcams are still fun here and there because I like to see beautiful things and I like the idea of looking at places in the world that I may never see in person. But none of them completely take over anymore....I have better things to occupy my time. Would I like to be able to explore new things again sometime? Of course. But for now I guess I'll just have to dabble and look back at the remains of my little online world to remember what once was.

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