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My World is 1024 Pixels Wide By Forty Seven Years Long  

:: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 ::

In 1995, I started to teach myself how to build web sites. I came to the World Wide Web in much the same frame of mind as someone about to step into a spring field of colorful wildflowers after being on the planet Mars. I rolled around in it. I inhaled the petals. Dirt got in between my barefoot toes. When I finally figured out how to put things on a web page using table cells, you would've thought I'd won the lottery.

Unfortunately, the only person who knew I was excited was the musician kid from Connecticut whom I'd met in a chat room somewhere. He had his own web site and liked teaching me things I wanted to know. We lost touch when he moved out West and became an Independent filmmaker.

I had other online teachers back then. All men. I wasn't to "meet" a woman who loved web stuff as much as I did until around 1999. That was Jill Whalen of High Rankings, who like me, is self-taught, passionate about work, and is a mom. The mother thing has a way of connecting women like nothing else can.

When You Can No Longer Tell The Woman from the Bacon

For roughly 4 years, I was a divorce-in-progress-to-done-deal mom of two, teaching myself a career after being at home for a few years as a full-time mom who was married to the house. I'm the only woman I know who refused to get a lawyer, refused child support, refused alimony and refused to be a burden on my ex-husband. Rather, we picked a female lawyer who let us work out what we wanted, which was to continue to co-parent our children together and live in peace. I typed up the Agreement for the law firm.

It wasn't a good time. Everybody thought I was truly nuts and I soon discovered who my real friends were. I could count them on less than one hand. I had no job, so he got our house. We had a rule that said, "Whoever can afford it, gets to live in it." That meant I had to leave. A woman out of the work force for three years doesn't stand a chance in hell of getting back in where she left off, and I had two kids to support when they were with me.

The only thing I had, back then, was a 286 homebuilt PC, a web site hosted by AOL and one I'd made for the spiritual teaching I had belonged to then. It's a fairly small worldwide religion, called Eckankar, and I was the first woman to build a web site for them (they have web sites in almost country of the world now). Mine was the 10th one on their list.

That web site was my entire portfolio. I hand-coded it in my kitchen, using Hotdog software, on the old 286, shortly before I had to move out of my house. That one site got me my first web design job for a magazine publisher. From there, the rest is all good news. Even when times got tough, and they did, I was always moving forward, making a better life for myself and my children. I achieved many personal and career goals, but more than that, I discovered things about myself in the process that I didn't know.

I also learned that I could break some conventional rules and society customs and still create (Cre8) an eventual positive outcome (PC = Peace).

R.E.S.T. P.E.C.T.

Which brings me to this year. In February 2005, I privately celebrated my 10 year anniversary of "being on the 'Net." Shortly after I turned forty years old, I was laid off from my first web design job. This Friday I turn 47, and I've been self-employed for almost three years, after being laid off from a famous web development company during the Dot.com Crash.

For 10 years, my daily life has revolved around a computer monitor and keyboard. It's my main source for communication with the world. In fact, in my earliest days, one of my other web design teachers was from Norway; another one of those "I met him on the Internet" finds who contributed to my career.

In a previous blog entry, I'd hinted that I had three reasons for slowing down the posts for this blog. I only wrote about two of them. The third one is more complicated, but essentially, it has to do with what happens when someone works very hard, and doesn't let anything get in their way of reaching their goals. A little scare with my heart forced me to slow down. Turns out my heart is in good shape, but it was a warning sign.

Ever since the "warning", I suddenly discovered a good excuse to play more. One of the ways for doing that is by actually leaving my office when I've finished a project for a client or writing an article. Who knew there was a planet out there, with real people? They have voices and there's this thing called "talking" that doesn't require the use of a keyboard!

Anyway, the point to this tale is that I felt I owed my friends (who now go way beyond one hand) a reason for why they're not finding me here as much. When I started my blog, there weren't so many of us. Same as when I started my first web site hosted by AOL sometime in 1996.

The Internet Room wasn't nearly as crowded as it is now and have you noticed how folks want to shrink it even more? There's the handheld device or cell phone monitor. Or the size of a TV set, which is now small enough for a car.

So, while everyone else is cramming their reality into teeny tiny spaces, I'm curious to know what's beyond the 1024 pixel world, before I get too old to enjoy it.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 5/24/2005 11:15:00 AM

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