It's now May 22nd, my 60th birthday, and following up on a suggestion from sharpest_asp
, I am starting to reflect on the changes that the years have wrought, and attempting to focus on those changes that have created the most joy for others in my life and for me. I don't know whether everyone on my access list would be interested in reading the reflections, whether others who are not yet interested on my access list would be interested, and whether I should make the filter opt-in or opt-out. I think for people who are already on my access list, I'll make it opt-out; I'll assume that you're interesting in reading my reflections, and count on you to let me know if you would like to be removed from that filter. For others, if you would like access, please let me know, and we'll talk about it.
I'm going to lie down now, and see what happens -- I need to be up in 3 hours -- but I'll try to get to setting all this up and starting to write soon. Perhaps I'll even make a commitment to posting reflections regularly, and you can then hold me accountable to it; I'm not quite ready to make such a commitment yet.
As a promissory note, I'll share one thing now with everyone. It's now 3:33 AM, and 333 is a special number for me. At 3:33 pm every day, and at 3:33 am if I'm awake, as I often am, I stop for a minute of gratitude. Why is 333 special to me? It was my lottery number in the military conscription for the war in Vietnam. I am grateful every day that I was not called to serve my country in that war, specifically that I did not see combat in Southeast Asia. I have many reasons for feeling this way, but right now I'll share the most egocentric of them. Although it is possible that serving in the military at that time would have improved my life, the evidence available to me suggests that it would have made my life worse, and that I might have come back, if I did come back, significantly messed up by what I had seen and done, not to mention possible injuries.
I feel that I must say that I intend no disrespect to anyone who has served or is now serving in the military. Discussion of my views concerning U.S. foreign policy at that time, and of my thoughts about war in general in human life, are for another time -- and initially at least, for a restricted audience. I do not want any reader who has served or is serving to feel disrespected by my gratitude that I was not called to serve in that way and at that time.
Future posts about my reflections about my life will mostly be restricted to the filter -- probably to be called "Reflections" -- that I am going to create. I'm posting this publicly so everyone will have a taste of what those reflections may be like, and can make a more informed decision about whether or not you wish to see them on your Reading page.
Thanks to all my Dreamwidth friends who have expressed good wishes to me on my 60th birthday. Although I have had the opportunity to meet only a few of you in person to date, I hope to meet more of you as time goes on, and your friendship and support mean a good deal to me.
I'm not, I think, a statistically normal denizen of Dreamwidth -- I have not yet written any fan fiction, for instance -- but I feel at home here nonetheless. It feels very risky to begin this sharing: I'm making myself very vulnerable to many people I have never met. And, the Internet, no matter how I use filters and access controls, and no matter how hard the developers of this platform work to keep private what we wish to keep private, the Internet is a very public place. What is posted here is easily accessible to those who seek it out. The controls we attempt, I think of as locking the car and putting the valuables in the trunk -- for those fortunate enough to have cars and valuables --: it makes theft less easy, but it's no prevention. Likewise, no matter how hard we try to protect our privacy online, I view it as very limited. Furthermore, I have chosen to make this journal transparent to my real world identity. Everyone who wants to know who peoppenheimer on Dreamwidth is can find out with a trivial effort. And what I post here will be on the Internet as long as there is an Internet. Even if Dreamwidth shuts down some day, my former colleague Brewster Kahle's Wayback Machine and the robotic indexers will keep its content available as long as there is an Internet. Even though I am well aware of these dangers, because I feel so at home on Dreamwidth, and because I feel that I have friends here who will be interested in reading my reflections, I'm going to give it a try.
Thank you for being interested in me.