Painful memories revisited.

Recently I was browsing through some old backups and came across some floppy disk image files I created years ago from my collection of 3.5″ floppy disks I once had. Some of these image files contained archived files I saved from my very first computer, which was a Leading Edge desktop computer with a 286 processor, 640KB RAM, 16-color EGA graphics card, a 30MB hard drive and a 5 1/4″ floppy drive. The operating system was MS-DOS 3.20.

There was one 360KB floppy disk that I set aside for use as a diary of sorts. I would create text files in which I would describe what was going on in my life. Back then I was going to vocational school to learn computer programming while working part-time as a dishwasher. Reading these text files now really brings back painful memories of what kind of person I was.

During that time, I was in my 20’s, that critical time of my life when I was supposed to be developing the skills I needed to develop my career and secure my financial independence. I failed to utilize this time wisely and instead slacked off in the worst way possible. In the computer lab where the rest of the class worked on their programming assignments, I was playing video games and kept falling behind. When I did work on my assignments, it was always with minimal effort. Following the lab was a classroom lecture but I would usually leave school early to pursue more important matters, such as hanging out at the mall. One time I left school early to go driving off some dirt road and got my car stuck in the mud. I spent the rest of the day trying to free my car and when night fell, I slept in my car. I missed school the following morning.

Such was the reckless, careless person I was back in those days. And now here I am, having reached the halfway mark of my life and still paying the price for those careless days. Had I been more serious about my schooling, I would have applied myself way more thoroughly and would have actually landed a job as a computer programmer. I would have attended every lecture and would have also saved the fun and games for later. I definitely would not have driven around off that dirt road. If I had to live my life all over again, I would not even think of going down that same path of recklessness that ruined my life.

I would have been much, much better off now had I utilized that critical time of my youth more wisely. I’m trying to convince myself that going to vocational school was not a mistake, but I’m just kidding myself. Yes, vocational school was a terrible mistake and I’m no better off now because of the careless attitude I had about my education and preparing for my future. I should have realized that such preparation requires both dedication and discipline, and I had neither of those traits. I just didn’t get it back then, and to me, that was the biggest mistake I ever made.

If there’s one lesson to learn from this post, it is this. Take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you during your schooling. Develop the dedication and discipline and devote as much time as possible to your studies. After all, they are the foundation for your career and the rest of your life. It may be hard, but stick with it. Your hard work now will reward you handsomely years down the road. I regret not having learned these lessons sooner.