Something very strange and yet very cool happened to me yesterday. I was sitting at my desk in my office getting some work done; but being that it was a Saturday, I was also reading up on various tech news and best practices articles. I just happened to visit an old haunt, a site called Perl Monks; and while there, I just happened to visit my profile page. (This is something I haven’t done in quite some time, mind you.) And there it was, right on my profile page, staring back at me.
An image I uploaded back in 2005. So why is that such a big deal to me? Well, that’s an interesting story.
Back in 2005, Google released (or re-released, depending on your point of view) a product called Google Earth. At the time, I thought it was amazingly cool. (I still do.) After playing around with it for a while, I messed around with some of the settings, moved around a bit, and ended up creating a picture of what the view would be from a couple thousand feet above my house in Port Orchard looking west to the Olympic Mountains. I was at the time a regular on Perl Monks, so I uploaded it to my profile page.
There it stayed for nearly 9 years.
In early 2013, nearly a year ago, I negotiated for and purchased my dream airplane. Since then, I’ve flown it quite a number of times, rarely going more than a week without a flight (unless the weather prevents doing so safely). I’ve flown up to the San Juan islands, and I’ve flown down to Portland. Often, I’ll take pictures and post them to my Flickr photo stream. On the most recent flight, back on February 28, I took this photo:
I’ve been extremely fortunate many times in my life. Sometimes I get so focused on the current problems to solve that I don’t take a step back and see the big picture. I look at the calendar ticking away the unknown finite number of days I have left in my life, and I panic (just a little), worried I’m wasting a precious and irreplaceable resource: Time. I worry about not working hard enough, not making enough progress, and I forget to see the successes, the steps of progress made over time.
It was about 9 years ago when I created the Google Earth image. I remember that time, what I had contributed to the world. I see where I am now. If I examine either fixed point, I feel like I haven’t done enough. I haven’t contributed enough. I haven’t built enough. But by drawing a line between the two fixed points and measuring it’s slope, I begin to realize I should stop worrying and start thinking about the images that I’ll take 9 years from now.