Life was simple when I was a child.
Life certainly wasn’t a box of chocolates but it wasn’t terrible either.
I had my fair share of disappointments, thoughts that life wasn’t fair, feelings of despair about my looks when I hit my teen years, and a hodgepodge of emotions.
But that was part of growing up. As they all say. And yes, that’s still part of me till this day because I am still learning and growing. If there was anything that my past had thought me, it is to look to the near future to have a sense of direction, live in the present to make the most out of my daily life, and glance at my past every now and then to appreciate how it has all come to be and sail on a boat of dreamy nostalgia. This post is a short detour through some of the reminiscent of my childhood and teen years.
Back in those days, my only concerns were school grades, my pizza face and the mundane worries about getting school essentials for the new year. My social life wasn’t the most happening although I did have a few friends at school who served just to fill the void I felt at school and to remind me of my homework (and also to set my social skills straight).
You see, I was blessed to have a computer at home with Internet. It also came with a printer and a set of speakers. My history with using the internet goes back to the year 2007 when Pa got us our first family laptop. It was a Compaq, I recall. It served us well for 6 years until my sisters and I each got our own personal laptops, thanks to Pa. My laptop became my main source of distraction but also my main source of knowledge. Little did I know of how a pure chance of owning a laptop at my young age would transform my life afterwards.
First there were the online educational games. I used to frequent sites like FunBrain, PopTropica, and MiniClip. These sites were packed with so many fun games that were not only highly addictive but they also thought me history, general knowledge and aroused in me a sort of child-like curiosity and suspense like no other. Poptropica is a virtual-world game whereby you have an avatar of your own, a Poptropican whose mission is to travel the map of Poptropica to various islands and complete challenges there, ultimately earning your Poptropican a medallion. I really can’t stress enough just how much this game has thought me as a little girl. I think I can still learn a handful of things from playing Poptropica, even at age 21.
Then came the age where my sisters and I were completely hooked with virtual world games. Poptropica was a classic, it sticked through my teenage years as well. Apart from Poptropica, there were other virtual world games that we played like Zwinky, ToonTown, Club Penguin and Pixie Hollow. Toontown, Club Penguin and Pixie Hollow were three of Disney’s four MMO games. I vividly remember playing these games like it was yesterday. The fun and enjoyment didn’t die as I grew older but it died because Disney decided to close all those games. It’s ironic to think that Disney was actually capable of ruining my childhood. For fellow fans of these games who are reading this blog post, watch this video to know why these games shut down :(
As I grew older and begin to find interest in writing, I discovered blogging through the then popular blogging platform, Blogger. This was also the time I was exploring other social media like Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, etc. Through Blogger, I discovered not just my inner writer but also my hidden web designer coughs.
My blog circa 2012. Yes, lots and lots of cats.
Writing blog posts was in itself very rewarding as I felt the power in being able to express myself in words. But beyond that, in desiring to break-free from the constraints of the standard theme editor and customize the blog look to my liking, I discovered web design and web development. I was thrilled by the level of customization that were made possible with HTML and CSS. Hence, my journey into web development begun. I considered it more of a hobby back then. I used to sneak out of bed at night to code my fresh ideas to life. Little did I know that this small passion would grow to influence a major life decision - enrolling into a CS degree and choosing to specialize in software engineering, particularly in web and mobile app development.
After those carefree years, when I entered higher secondary and when I started exploring other things outside in the real world, I began to adapt into growing responsibilities. I still spent hours on the computer but on more serious things such as scholarship applications, online banking, in-depth theoretical stuffs about CS, religion and philosophy, etc. I began to find leisure in online movies, Youtube videos, online tutorials, and needless to mention, social media. But I am glad to say that I am not as nearly as addicted as I was with these current forms of entertainment as I was with my childhood online games and when I first discovered web design. That sheer enjoyment and carefree-ness defined the good times I had in my childhood and I don’t think I can ever re-live those moments.