Karen is still thinking about holidays with this Weekend Assignment:
Extra Credit: What are you most looking forward to as the century continues?
I’m glad Karen’s taken a non-traditional approach and a specific focus to this, especially since she’s asking about the last ten years. The last few months of 1999 were some of the most difficult ones of my life, and the new decade got off to a rough start as well. My life has gone through many changes since then – new state, new jobs, new family – and I’m very thankful to have come through it all to arrive where I am today. But I’m also thankful I don’t have to discuss all that emotional stuff right now.
Still, it’s hard to pick just one thing to answer this question, so here’s a Fave Five, in no particular order:
E-Readers: I never would have said this until a few months ago, but my Kindle has truly made me a believer. I don’t think e-books will replace the traditional kind for me, but the Kindle made carrying books with me a lot more convenient. Since e-books tend to become available at the same time as hardcover editions, and they cost less than most trade paperbacks, I don’t have to wait so long for some of the books I really want to read, either!
Implantable lenses: I’m not a candidate for LASIK vision correction, but the implantable collamer lens (ICL) might be a viable alternative to the glasses and contacts I’ve worn for almost my entire life. I haven’t had the procedure done myself, but I have recently come across someone who had a great experience with it, and I’m thinking I might like to make this my 50th-birthday gift to myself.
The iPhone: I don’t have one, and I don’t really think I want one, but I certainly believe it’s enhanced the gadgets and goodies available for more traditional cell phones. However, my husband’s had one for most of this year, and he swears he can’t remember how he got along without it. If I’m with him, and he’s with his iPhone – which is nearly all the time – it’s the next best thing to having one of my own.
The DVR: I never could master “time-shifting” with a VCR, but we’ve had a DVR since late 2005, and it’s truly changed the way we watch television. We’ve effectively become our own programmers. We rarely watch anything when it’s actually scheduled on TV. This does have the drawback of interfering with watercooler discussions the next day, but it’s more than worth it to be able to avoid the commercials.
Blogging: The early ancestors of today’s blogs were being born in the late ’90’s, but the explosion of the form to what we know today seems to have happened in just the last few years. Free software that’s easy to access and use has opened the Internet to the less tech-savvy, and anyone who has something to say – which seems to be almost everyone – can create their own place to say it, and easily find others to share the conversation. I started blogging in earnest in the spring of 2007, and I wish I’d gotten into it sooner. I can safely say it’s changed my life more than anything in the last few years, other than getting married.
What 21st-century development are you especially thankful for?