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On New Year’s Eve 20 years ago, I – 11 years old at the time – played what I figured would be my last game of Tetris on my family’s desktop computer.

It was a clunker.

Outdated even in 1999, the machine ran Windows 3.0 and had no internet capabilities. To turn it on, we pressed the power button, waited for a series of numbers to scroll down the screen, then typed “win.exe” and hit “enter” on the keyboard.

The computer sat under a thick monitor. It had two slots: one for floppy discs and one for hard discs. A small pile of each was stored in a drawer of the computer desk which sat in a corner of the living room.

Even if our friends’ newer models survived the predicted Y2K bug, my family expected our dinosaur to cross the line of extinction as 1999 turned into 2000.

So on Jan. 1 when we turned it on and typed in the Windows command, and it worked as normal, I was ecstatic.

And partially convinced that computers had evolved into conscious beings.

If I’d known then all we’d be able to do with them today, I probably wouldn’t have believed half of it. And I suspect I can’t begin to imagine now what the world of technology will be like in 2040.

As I get older (I know, I’m only 31– still young), time seems to fly by faster each year.

Wasn’t New Year’s 2019 just a few months ago?

I wonder if this feeling is partially due to an overuse of technology. Yes, time flies when you’re having fun, but it zooms at jet speed when you’re on the computer.

Or smartphone.

Or tablet.

Or all three at once (yikes).

Sometimes it seems technology is sucking the years – and life – right out of us. I wonder how humans lived without it for so long, but at the same time, how we’ll keep living with it as it continues to control more of our future.

With the new year and new decade only six days away, I’m beginning to think about New Year’s resolutions. I think the ones I set for 2020 will relate to technology use: cutting off screen time a half hour before bed each night and a half hour after waking, limiting the time I spend on social media each day, reading more hard-copy books than ebooks and taking short, periodic breaks during the day to rest my eyes from my computer screens at work. Though these are all simple goals, none of them will come easy to my technology-addicted self.

But using three fingers and the arrow keys, I mastered level 10 of Tetris on Windows 3.0. If I can handle that, I can handle a few simple New Year’s resolutions.

2020.exe.

Enter.

Contact the writer: ebaumeister@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9185, ext. 3492