Living a Life Online

January 22, 2007

For the past few weeks I've been stuck in bed because of a minor illness. For two weeks my primary contact with the outside world has been through this laptop, and it has been an eye-opening experience. Never before did I grasp the true power of the Internet. Oh sure, I knew all it was capable of, but knowing and being completely dependent on it are two different things. Cut off from the world, I continued to work; to converse with colleagues, friends and family; and to shop (right up there with eating and breathing in my book). I read the news, watched movies, paid bills, collaborated on projects, and signed my kids up for Art class. I was bed-bound, but my life went on with scarcely a hiccup. Some colleagues and friends never even noticed anything was different. I realized that, if I wanted or needed to, I could live a full life without ever leaving my bed. I could attend school, graduate, find employment, and work online. I could make money, spend it, invest it, and save it without ever getting out of my pajamas. And as for entertainment and a social life, the Internet offers worlds of opportunity. The only thing I would miss—and I would miss it desperately—would be actual human contact. For everything else, all I would need was this laptop. I wouldn't want to be in the position to have to live my life online. But it's good to know that, should necessity ever require it, I could. Tomorrow I'm going back to work in the office, but I realize many people aren't as lucky as me. For some people, the illness won't turn out to be a minor, momentary pause in their regular routine. As I return to my usual daily life, I'm taking with me the thought of those people and a renewed sense of purpose. As a web developer, I can't think of any better reason to build the web than them.