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Fast Forward into 2023

Back in the early 90s, I worked for a local University developing computer based learning materials. The young people now would never believe me, but we were working on the leading edge of technology, basking in the possibilities offered by VGA graphics (16 colours) and operating systems other than DOS. We had just woken up to this thing developed by NASA called the internet. As part of my job, I often went to Roadshows given by the then big software companies, one of which was Macromedia. (This was before Adobe took over the world and made many image editing software companies redundant).

At one Macromedia Roadshow (former makers of software like Dreamweaver), they showcased some futuristic technological advances. These included something called streaming, and computers that you could talk to and tell things like "phone Jim" and they would do it. When I saw what they predicted my internal dialogue was something like, "Yeah, that's never going to happen". Most of the other people in the audience felt the same way. The technology just didn't exist at the time. And problems we had with existing technology made such advances seem inconceivable.

I was, of course, and as you know, mistaken. We now have smart phones that can not only "phone Jim" just by us telling them to, but a whole host of other things we could barely imagine back then. We also have entertainment streamed via the internet, giving rise to new terminology such as "Bingewatching". Back in the early 90s no one would have known what you were talking about if you said you had bingewatched something. DVDs were yet to be a thing.

Where am I going with all this talk of redundant and emerging technology? Well it has all happened in the blink of an eye. Just like that, in the space of a few decades, we have phenomena like the internet, Google, social media, devices we name things like SIRI and Alexa, and we can do things that were beyond my imagination in the early 90s when I was in my twenties. And just like that, I am pushing 60 years of age.

So at the start of 2023, I am no longer operating with my whole life in front of me. Technological advances are still happening, some good, some downright scary and many like social media that have turned out to be as negative and corrosive as they are helpful. These are uncertain times. The only thing that is certain is that time will continue to pass. This year, I am only making one new year's resolution. "Carpe Diem": Sieze the Day. Make the most of opportunities in the here and now and live in the moment. Make decisions that will help me and those around me. Be generous and kind. Look after the planet. Basically, squeeze every last drop of enjoyment and benefit I can out of life before it is over.

The first time I heard the term "Carpe Diem" was in a movie starring the late, great Robin Williams called Dead Poet's Society (1989). An important movie for me for many reasons. To "seize the day" was not a concept I was familiar with up till then. My upbringing had taught me to cautiously and carefully plan for a future I may or may not have in reality. It was also the first time I had seen the arts legitimised as something that gave life meaning. There's no doubt the movie spoke to my soul and became one of my favourites ever.

But there are many more movies that are important to me for different reasons. And over the years I have collected most of them as DVD's so I can play them whenever I want. I know what you are thinking: "so yesterday", why would you have DVD's when you can stream whatever you want? I get that one day I probably won't be able to play my DVD's any more, but I can now. And as I've just said, now is what matters. It's all I really have.

And now that I'm older, I care less whether I am on trend or make sense to the millennials that regard my DVD collection as ridiculously and unnecessarily over the top. Admittedly, my collection needs some culling. And I need to shed a whole lot of other "stuff" in my life as well. So that's what I am planning for in terms of "seizing the day" this year. Focus. On what's good for me and my life and shedding the things that aren't, as well as some of those things that I just no longer need. As we speed into 2023, I wish the same for you. Have a good one.

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