Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life in Cyberworld/How the Internet Changed My Life

          For most of my adult life I lived in the woods in a yurt without electricity or an indoor bathroom. Life was basic; taking care of my children, keeping the fire stoked, gardening, preparing food, and contributing to the community in which I lived. Because I had always loved to write I made time to keep a pen to paper journal, just as I had when I was a girl.  I also had a Royal portable typewriter that I used to type out my essays, stories, and letters to my family. The years passed and my desire to write escalated.  I wanted to take a writing class and enrolled in a correspondence course through a university, since at that time I had no car.  My mother helped me to acquire a battery run word processor which was a step up. I completed a year of school on that word processor, which is quite battered but I still have.  I knew of the internet, of course, this was the 21st century after all, but I didn’t have the means to plug into the World Wide Web.

I entered the cyber world in 2002, a late start in some respects, but then I have always been a late bloomer. When my husband and I were still courting he recognized that I would really enjoy having a computer and bought me a laptop.  We had moved from the country into town and into the world of some creature comforts, and best of all, electricity!   It wasn’t long before I had an email account and was learning to navigate my way around the internet.  Now it seems like I have always had a computer. We have home office complete with a desk and a beautiful view out into the wildlife park out behind our house. What more could a writer want? Not only is it extremely easy to write (copy, cut, paste, delete, and spell-check) I now have the world at my fingertips. Research is a snap.

            My kids and I all have Face book accounts, and that is such a fun way to stay in touch. Then there are the blogging and online journal sites which I find fascinating and I spent a good part of my day networking and writing and designing. My first online favorite was a poetry site that a poet friend of mine told me about and I began writing and posting poetry. Previously I had been too reserved to share any of my poetry with anyone. Once I started, I was hooked; thrilled I had found a family of poets, just like me. I was invited to host a room on one particular site (Galadrial’s Respite) and found myself warmly welcomed.

Being online has opened up a new world on many levels. I prefer to communicate through the instant message than by phone, and with the video chat it’s almost as good as visiting in the flesh. Sending photos, playing games has made connecting fun and spontaneous. There is nothing like the convenience online shopping. I do most of my Christmas shopping this way, and I get my books half price over the internet.  I got into EBay, both as a buyer and a seller and what fun this turned out to be. Politics?  Being online enables me keep up to date on world events.  I can get my news from sources other than the main stream media. I do my banking online, and yes, I am cautious and obey all the guidelines so as not to get my identity stolen or my accounts compromised.  It is so handy, and I like it that I don’t have to deal with so much paperwork. Think of all the trees I’ve helped to save!

             My grandsons play all different kinds of online games which they seem to like, but as for me I stick to Scrabble and I always have three or four going at once. There is a version called Lexulous that can be played by email or in live time. I was amazed at how many Scrabble players there are from all over the world.         

I am happy for the change of lifestyle, especially now that my kids are out of the nest and I have more time to pursue my hobbies and interests. Although I loved living close to nature, I don’t miss the yurt, camping out lifestyle. The time was ripe for change. I feel right at home in cyberspace.
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