Thank you, 21st Century! (Weekend Assignment #294)

Karen is still thinking about holidays with this Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #294: Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s traditional to ask what you’re thankful for this year. But let’s tweak that a bit. As we prepare to finish off the first decade of a new century, let’s take a moment to appreciate the good things that have come about since 12/31/1999. What aspect of living in the 21st century are you most thankful about? I’m talking technology, medical breakthroughs, favorite tv shows, even people and pets born since the ball drop of nine years ago.

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?

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  1. Hubby and I bought our house in 2000, our very first one. And as a result, I finally was able to adopt that dog I always wanted. Who would have thought I'd end up with two cats? I guess you could say my love of cats came after 1999 as well. 🙂

    The DVR is a great invention, isn't it? I only wish it could record and store more shows at once.

  2. Wendy (Literary Feline) – My dog's a holdover from the last century :-). I'd like the chance to buy another house some time in this century…

    The DVR is awesome. The one we have now actually has decent storage capacity, but it's still got limits on how many shows it can record at once – decisions, decisions!

  3. I'm with you on blogging! It's opened up a whole new world for me; I've connected with people literally the world over.

    My kids have all been with me since pre-2000 but I'm so grateful for their growth as wonderful human beings.

  4. Lisa – My son definitely pre-dates 2000, and so do my stepchildren…although my stepson was born in mid-December 1999, so he just got under the wire :-). But I didn't meet them until 2005, and I'm thankful they're such a big part of my life now.

  5. I'm a little wary about letting a surgeon touch my eyes, even if it turns out I'm eligible for this new procedure you mention. But it's good to know it exists!

    And I have to admit you're gradually wearing me down on the subject of getting a Kindle or something like it some day.


  6. Karen – I might be more anxious about it if my husband didn't speak so well about LASIK, which I know isn't an option for me.

    And I'm honestly surprised that I like my Kindle as much as I do!