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30-39
40-49
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Author Topic: How Old Are We?  (Read 5495 times)  

Offline Dpock

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How Old Are We?
« on: June 15, 2019, 03:14:12 pm »
I thought it would be interesting to learn a bit more about this community. Responses are anonymous (as far as I know), unless, of course, you out yourself, as I'm doing below.

I'm sixty-six (born 1953). I remember the day JFK died and was watching live TV (black and white) with my mother when Oswald was shot while in custody. I saw Led Zeppelin in concert before they were famous. Ditto Jethro Tull. My draft number during the Vietnam War was 95 (the last year of the draft), and they called up to 91 that year.

I was on the ground waiting to take off from Seattle when Mount St. Helens erupted.

My first child was born in 1982, the last in 1994. I got on the internet in 1993. I started writing short stories in 1991, got published in small magazines no one would remember.

I was in Hong Kong when the Berlin Wall came down.

I was in London, England, when the Twin Towers were struck. Couldn't get out of England for a week.

I started publishing on Amazon in 2017.


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    Offline lea_owens

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 03:36:21 pm »
    I'm 59 for another 13 days, so I'm taking this as the last chance to tick the '50-59' box.

    I love that I have memories spanning such exciting times, and remembering the tragic in the same period gives perspective to what is important now.  I can remember watching the old black and white tv when JFK was shot - even here in Australia, it was a huge thing. I remember the fear of the Vietnam War - families of twenty year old sons watching the television in terror as the Birthday Ballot was televised...if their birthday was drawn with the series of balls (just like a lotto draw), they were conscripted and sent to Vietnam (if they passed health tests, etc). People watch Lotto draws on the tv today, hoping their numbers come up, but the Birthday Ballot was watched with so much fear as families prayed their sons' numbers did not come up. I sat next to my best friend in 1969 and watched the moon landing - we still chat most weeks and I'm flying down to Melbourne to see her next month. The Concorde, the Jumbo jet, cars, early Star Trek... a million memories of amazing times.

    I wish all younger people experience the amazement I've seen and never grow jaded about changes for the better.

    Leanne Owens

    Offline vagabond.voyager

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 04:47:34 pm »
    I am curious as to whether there is anyone here older than I am. I was born in 1931, entered my teens during WW2, joined the Royal Navy, then in the '50s returned to University and studied English and Journalism. I have spent most of my life since then in publishing (not fiction - mostly magazines and text books.) I am officially retired but still work part time consulting and lecturing.

    Offline Spin52

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 05:41:56 pm »
    Kennedy was assassinated on my 11th birthday, which should give you a pretty precise idea of my age.
    I never quite forgave my father for not letting me see the Beatles on their last tour in 1966. I remember the tickets cost $4, $5 and $6.
    I was hired for my first newspaper job the summer of Watergate (the news staff had a pool on which day Nixon would resign. The editor, a staunch Republican, didn't want Watergate on the front page.)
    When Mount St Helens erupted, I was back at that same paper, located about 100 miles from the volcano. We got some great stories and photos, along with a sprinkling of ash.
    I'm a grandmother of three now, and my grandchildren don't believe there was ever a time when computers didn't exist.


    Offline Kingdavid757

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #4 on: June 15, 2019, 07:01:05 pm »
    I remember reading something years ago that most writers, while they may have written thier whole lives, usually start writing professionally/publishing books in thier 40's  I don't know how true that is and can't remember where I read it.
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    Offline AlecHutson

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #5 on: June 15, 2019, 07:05:33 pm »
    It's so interesting hearing everyone's stories, and what they consider the seminal moments in their lives. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm 39 (born 1980). There was a post a few days ago that referred to the 80s and 90s as a period of irrational optimism, and I'd agree with that. I grew up on a diet of Indiana Jones, Star Wars, MTV, Dragonlance, unfettered capitalism, The End of History, Reagan and Clinton and Bush, easily won wars, greed is good, soulless popular music, reality TV . . .

    And then my senior year of college 9/11 happened, and the world changed. I think my age group, just hitting middle age now, exists in this weird interstitial state. We remember what life was like before 9/11 - it seemed more carefree and simple, certainly, though we were also pre-adulthood. Maybe every generation has that watershed moment, whether it was JFK's assassination, Nixon, a world war, the Depression . . . We also remember life before cell phones and the internet, but we were the first generation to adopt these new technologies. The unbridled optimism of our youth has given way to pessimism - about politics, about the environment, about whether we will continue to progress as a species, or if the whole house of cards will come tumbling down spectacularly. Those older than us have amassed nearly all the wealth and power, and despite the future belonging to us (and even younger generations) we seem to have very little say in how to avert the problems that are clearly coming. I mean, the frontrunners for the American presidency are all over the age of 70.     

    I came to Shanghai right after college (around 2004) and have been here ever since. It's been interesting watching and experiencing China's re-emergence. 20% of humanity is in the process of rejoining the rest of the world, though the old folks here are clinging desperately to their power. I'm still here, though I've been thinking about returning to the States.

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    Offline Dpock

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #6 on: June 15, 2019, 09:38:41 pm »

    I wish all younger people experience the amazement I've seen and never grow jaded about changes for the better.

    If these "younger people" were born after 1990, I'm not sure what they would view as changes for the better in their lifetimes.

    The Korean War ended several months after I was born in 1953, but it was WWII that overshadowed that decade. England and much of Europe were still catching their breath as America became the world's economic powerhouse. The Cold War became irrevocably real when Sputnik entered orbit in '57 and the Berlin wall was erected in '61. Then came the Cuban missile crisis. For the duration of the 60s and 70s, most of us felt a nuclear holocaust was a real possibility (dramatized, rather late in my opinion, in the ABC movie "The Day After" in 1984).

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, I think we all abandoned the idea of nuclear war being a real possibility. I was thirty-six. Among my regrets is not following a few friends who went to Berlin to celebrate. It was a HUGE deal, the wall coming down.

    Soon after, 1990 arrived, and the world was a different place (but only if you buy into my sentiments regarding the Cold War). In the twenty-nine years that have followed, we've had 9/11, three military involvements in the Middle East, and the 2008 recession. I wouldn't say that's progress. I'm not sure what to call it.


    Offline KellMartin

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #7 on: June 15, 2019, 10:50:57 pm »
    It's so interesting hearing everyone's stories, and what they consider the seminal moments in their lives. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm 39 (born 1980). There was a post a few days ago that referred to the 80s and 90s as a period of irrational optimism, and I'd agree with that. I grew up on a diet of Indiana Jones, Star Wars, MTV, Dragonlance, unfettered capitalism, The End of History, Reagan and Clinton and Bush, easily won wars, greed is good, soulless popular music, reality TV . . .

    And then my senior year of college 9/11 happened, and the world changed. I think my age group, just hitting middle age now, exists in this weird interstitial state. We remember what life was like before 9/11 - it seemed more carefree and simple, certainly, though we were also pre-adulthood. Maybe every generation has that watershed moment, whether it was JFK's assassination, Nixon, a world war, the Depression . . . We also remember life before cell phones and the internet, but we were the first generation to adopt these new technologies. The unbridled optimism of our youth has given way to pessimism - about politics, about the environment, about whether we will continue to progress as a species, or if the whole house of cards will come tumbling down spectacularly. Those older than us have amassed nearly all the wealth and power, and despite the future belonging to us (and even younger generations) we seem to have very little say in how to avert the problems that are clearly coming. I mean, the frontrunners for the American presidency are all over the age of 70.     

    I came to Shanghai right after college (around 2004) and have been here ever since. It's been interesting watching and experiencing China's re-emergence. 20% of humanity is in the process of rejoining the rest of the world, though the old folks here are clinging desperately to their power. I'm still here, though I've been thinking about returning to the States.

    I'm in the same boat, although a bit younger: 33.
    I clearly remember 9/11 and the changes that came with it. I grew up on a steady diet of Hollywood and perhaps as a result never really felt like I fit in anywhere. We're looking at all these screens, trying to be somewhere else than where we are right now.
    So I've been traveling for many years now.

    I wonder if with Generation X and my generation people stopped playing on teams, stopped compromising. Why play in a band when you can be a DJ? Why play football when you can be a skaterkid?

    I wanna quote Felix Biederman who I think capsulated the Millenial Generation well:
    "The 2008 recession permanently engendered cynicism in millions.
    While that November, unprecedented numbers of young people came out to vote for Barack Obama, most people's lives remained pretty s***y.
    None of the scumbag bankers went to jail. Most of the jobs created in the vaunted recovery therafter were temporary positions,
    and the pain of seeing a system completely fail never leaves some people.

    It's not really part of our national discourse, but a lot of people completely checked out in 2008 and in the following years.
    It's not just Donald Trumps much-touted forgotten man; It's the f****d up 19-year old who hates himself because he doesn't feel like he's good at anything.
    He feels like he'll never get the chance to grow up, and sees his parents who have to work until they die, because they got wiped out by the market, and decides he's right to give up.

    It's the 26-year old who did five unpaid internships in the last four years finally gets a permanent position and gets sexually harassed by some mid-level executive, but knows HR exists to protect the company, and she has no savings anyway, so what is she going to do?

    It's the guy who got so mad after 9/11 that he joined the army and got to kill all those people that he said he would, and it just made him crazy enough to scare off everyone in his life everytime he hears anything loud.

    2008 didn't bring the pitchforks. It didn't scare any CEOs or private equity managers.
    It just made everyone too f****g beaten down for anyone who deserves it to ever see the inside of a cell."




    Offline VisitasKeat

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #8 on: June 15, 2019, 10:52:24 pm »
    Poll taken. Mid-forties! :)

    Offline Tobias Roote

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #9 on: June 15, 2019, 11:25:22 pm »
    66, born 1952. My whole life has been an adventure and although not all of it has been enjoyable it brought me to where I am today and that's pretty incredible. My only observation in all of this is that, each generation grows up in it's own world. Those of us that have seen multiple generations follow us have a greater perception of what that actually means. My two sons, 28 and 31 have a completely different perception of what we did to the world in our generation. It makes for interesting discussions and I have to partly agree with them. We really f$cked things up.
    Not that they are doing any better and I'm not sure any generation does better than another. Yet, we survive as a species and continue to evolve. One day maybe we will get it right.... who knows  ;)
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    Offline cecilia_writer

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #10 on: June 16, 2019, 12:25:25 am »
    I turned 71 earlier this year. I've led a more interesting life than I expected, not always in a good way, but giving me ideas for murder mysteries along the way. I recently found an old diary for 1964, and I was amazed to see what an exciting year that had been. Apart from playing a lot more tennis matches than I remember, I had visited a Pictish site in the Western Isles (of Scotland), had touched the Berlin Wall and been to a Beatles concert.

    Offline alawston

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #11 on: June 16, 2019, 03:16:54 am »
    Eesh, I recently flipped over into a new decade, and still getting my head round it.

    I've always written, but I only started getting serious about publishing in my mid-30s, and wrote my first long-form fiction in my late 30s. I'm now six months into my 40s and producing material at my fastest ever rate.

    I don't think that's a function of age at all, though. I had so many great ideas in my 20s that will remain forever unwritten because I was too busy working in stressful and physically exhausting jobs. I managed about one short story a year. Good stories, but...

    Even when I got a bit more settled in my late 20s, I needed to supplement my income, so my writing effort was concentrated on churning out low-pay articles for content farms. I've got something like 1,200 articles running to millions of words on my hard drive, and although they made me a good chunk of cash at the time, I labelled the folder "The Lost Decade".

    Around the time I turned 31, I finally reached the sort of job and lifestyle where I didn't need to chase every penny, and I had space to breathe and to be creative. I started acting again, and I returned to fiction. There was a lot less money, but I felt so much better about life, being able to indulge my creative instincts without having to factor them into the household budget.

    So, yes, there's plenty of people who do write through their years of low-income desperation (someone usually mentions JK Rowling at this point), but the truth is it gets a lot easier when you're a bit older, have a bit more money coming in, and don't feel you have to justify every moment you spend on your passion in financial terms.


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    Offline SND

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #12 on: June 16, 2019, 03:40:15 am »
    43

    I was there when J.R. was shot.
    I also bared witness to the tragic demise of Optimus Prime at the hands of the evil Megatron.

    Couldn't make much sense of either seminal event at the time, like many in my generation. But in hindsight, I see how they forged me into the man I am today. Life keeps forcing us to let go. I wouldn't change a thing.

    Offline Evenstar

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #13 on: June 16, 2019, 05:02:15 am »
    I guess the invention of the internet is probably the biggest change to the world in my lifetime. We became a global community, hearing about things literally as they happen.

    Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without Alexa to give me on the spot answers to the smallest questions that cross my mind (I'm very high input and need to know), but at other times I get quite nostalgic for the simpler days when I had no idea how horrific the bigger world was and my only real concern was what was happening on my own doorstep.

    Offline Dpock

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #14 on: June 16, 2019, 08:49:29 am »
    Is anyone else surprised by these numbers? I thought for sure the 20-29 and 30-39 brackets would dominate by a wide margin.


    Offline Bixso

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #15 on: June 16, 2019, 09:19:00 am »
    Is anyone else surprised by these numbers? I thought for sure the 20-29 and 30-39 brackets would dominate by a wide margin.

    Not at all in the slightest. In fact, I'm glad my assumptions were confirmed.

    I remember I was talking with an associate, and she was shocked that I published my first novel at 27/28 years old. Like that was unconventional or something. I now understand it is.

    I don't want to get into the politics of it, however I will offer my own opinions. I know publishing networks usually side with older authors for some reason. There could be an array of reasons why. Perhaps older authors seem to have more experience with the industry and writing. Younger writers seem to mostly stick to fan-fiction, or stuff that the literary world seems as unprofessional. So that could be a reason why.

    Also timing as well, you have to factor that in. Lets say that someone completes the rough draft of a professional novel by their senior year of high school. Okay. Clearly the writer is going to be more focused realistically on school, so they shelf the story give or take a couple years, and the rest would be history on whether the story eventually gets published or not. I guess it would be an exception to the rule, if an author was able to get a contract at least before they finished four years of secondary school and/or graduated. That's just the contract. With the book perhaps being published even years after that.

    Despite the fact we have experience being indie authors, some of us attempted to get a book deal, (Well speaking for myself.) as people assume that's the proper way to get your stories out. So me and many other younger authors/writers had to deal with rejections for many years, and decided whether or not writing was our calling or not. So this can take a toll as well.

    There is also self doubt involved probably, and feeling they are not ready yet. (Even with middle grade and young adult writing) Many prolific well known authors seem to be older. So a younger author may feel, "Well I don't see any other younger authors out there, so I should maybe wait until I decide to publish." etc. Just a thought.

    One final dismissive but probable reason why, is that people in my generation don't value books. I hate to say it, but everyone else is thinking it. With how younger people are more interested in getting their story ideas out in more modern and contemporary forms, such as screenplays or scripts, music, visual art/performance art, short films, media, film, tv, etc. Writing a book isn't valued or appreciated really.

    But yeah, my opinions. I said what I had to say about this.
    « Last Edit: June 16, 2019, 09:26:32 am by Bixso »
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    Offline CaptnAndy

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #16 on: June 16, 2019, 10:23:02 am »
    I'll be 75 next month. I was in the Navy in San Diego the day Kennedy was shot. Every warship in the harbor that could get under way, did so, at General Quarters, with live missiles on the launchers.
     I was in San Fransisco in the mid 60s, and as an under-aged sailor with a Secret Clearance, I was afraid to participate in the Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll festivities.
     I watched a Goldwater speech live during the 64 Elections race, and the very selective, cut and paste, TV news reports afterward, that made him sound like a raving maniac, who would start WW3 on the day he became President.
    In 65 I came home to a town that was killed economically, when the County voted for Goldwater. The State Senator had threatened to shut down the base that was provided over 50% of the town's income and population, and he did. These two events made me a life-long skeptic of Government, and the media.
    I worked as a Tech, Engineer, Exec, and CEO during the late 60s, the 70s and 80s, when the integrated circuits were coming of age. I remember Fairchild Semiconductor introducing a new 'MSI' chip every week.
    Along the way I read Stranger in a Strange Land, and I Groked.
    As the Internet evolved, I found information source alternatives to what Rush had coined as the Mainstream Media. I began to spend time each day using the net to explore a wide range of current events, politics, technologies, and anything that caught my interest, a practice that continues to this day.
    I was watching the Today Show on the morning of 9/11, and later saw the tragic waste of treasure, and our best young people in the futile attempts to 'Nation Build' in the Middle East.
    I became a 'Prepper' after reading One Second After, and have written several Post Apoptotic books.
    When I retired for the fourth time in 2011, I got serious about writing, and I now have 16 books covering a range of genres on Amazon, and my adventure is continuing.
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    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #17 on: June 16, 2019, 11:57:33 am »
    A similar poll was done a couple of years ago. I wonder how much this one will differ.

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    Offline Dpock

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #18 on: June 16, 2019, 12:45:19 pm »
    A similar poll was done a couple of years ago. I wonder how much this one will differ.

    I looked to see if a poll had already been run--couldn't find one.


    Offline vagabond.voyager

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #19 on: June 16, 2019, 04:52:46 pm »
    I guess the invention of the internet is probably the biggest change to the world in my lifetime. We became a global community, hearing about things literally as they happen.

    Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without Alexa to give me on the spot answers to the smallest questions that cross my mind (I'm very high input and need to know), but at other times I get quite nostalgic for the simpler days when I had no idea how horrific the bigger world was and my only real concern was what was happening on my own doorstep.
    I have both Alexa and Google Home - mostly for when Great-Grandkids visit. I have caught them speeding through homework by means of "Hey Google, when was Shakespeare born?" or "How many furlongs in three kilometres?" It is a different world.

    Offline Linn

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #20 on: June 16, 2019, 05:46:26 pm »
    I have both Alexa and Google Home - mostly for when Great-Grandkids visit. I have caught them speeding through homework by means of "Hey Google, when was Shakespeare born?" or "How many furlongs in three kilometres?" It is a different world.

    It's fantastic for writers. I remember googling for what the parts of a syringe are called, and the answer was in front of me almost instantly. Not sure where I would've looked for that information before, or how long it might have taken to find it.


    Offline laura_the_librarian

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #21 on: June 16, 2019, 05:58:47 pm »
    Fascinating thread.

    I just turned 37.

    I only started writing a few years ago. Until recently, writing seemed like a luxury.

    I didn't reach a point of financial security until about age 35. Even now, in addition to my full-time (middle class) job, I sell on eBay, delivery drive for DoorDash, house sit, and dog sit.

    I don't know quite what to make of my generation (I am an "old" millennial.) It has been my personal observation that we're strongly economically divided.

    Part of us went to college, lived in the dorms or at home throughout college or got an apartment with parental support, graduated without student loans or crushing debt, always expected that we would land a good, white collar job, got married to another college educated person, and received a parent or grandparent's help with a down payment on a home.

    Then again, part of us never went past high school or did a few years at community college or one of those fishy for-profit schools which we left without graduating from and still have student debt from, have worked a series of [crap] jobs, had no hope of ever owning a home, and didn't get married because we wanted to improve our lot in life first so that we would have more to offer a spouse, we just never got there.

    Honestly, 9/11 was a blur to me. That was the day that I started yet another job through yet another temporary agency. I reported at the office, and all the televisions were turned on. Most of the staff, once they realized what was happening, went home. My temporary manager suggested that me and the other temp go home. I didn't even let her finish before I blurted out that I wanted to stay. I wouldn't be paid if I want sent home, and I wouldn't be able to make my rent if they sent me home. Immediately afterward, I regretted saying that, worrying that she would think me weird and tell the temp agency not to send me again the next day, and then I wouldn't be able to get another temp assignment until the following Monday because usually no one wanted a temp mid-week. That's the most I remember about that day. I'm vaguely ashamed to write that.   

    Writing became a real possibility once my life stabilized and I could afford all of my basic needs. It took me about 17 years to get there. I didn't have any screw-ups along the way. I just started in the second group I mentioned, and slowly worked my way up to the lifestyle described in the first group. I'm still not totally there. I will always need to work multiple "side gigs" and carefully watch every penny in order to stay in this orbit. 

    I get the impression that life wasn't so divided for earlier generations. For the millennial generation, I think you're either in the first group or the second group, and it defines what you can do with your life.
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    Offline KellMartin

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #22 on: June 16, 2019, 08:38:57 pm »
    This thread is easily my favorite on this forum. Thank you.

    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #23 on: June 16, 2019, 10:24:19 pm »
    30. The earliest world events I can remember are the Hong Kong handover and the death of Diana.

    I was too young to realise how utterly bizarre and once-in-a-lifetime an event 9/11 was, although I did realise I was watching history in the making.

    I am old enough to remember what life was like before smartphones - the same as now, but more boring - and it's fascinating to me that so many older people have developed wilful blindness on that issue.

    I am on the other hand very glad to be in the last generation which finished high school without social media, or with only primitive social media. I think I started using MySpace in my last year of high school, Facebook in my second year of university and Instagram long after I'd graduated and moved to another city. I shudder to think of the petty, bullying [crap] teenagers have to put up with 24/7 these days.

    I started writing my zombie series in 2005 (my last year of high school) on Livejournal - those were the days. People liked it and down the track I eventually finished it, re-wrote/re-edited it from scratch, and started publishing it on Amazon on 2017. It's fair to say I wouldn't have done that if the internet hadn't let me find like-minded communities in the early 2000s, and Livejournal hadn't offered a platform to find a supportive audience which encouraged me to keep writing. I always wanted to be a writer and always would have been in some form or another, but living in the digital age has definitely offered me advantages and pathways which simply didn't exist before. Which I suppose is true for all of us.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Re: How Old Are We?
    « Reply #24 on: June 17, 2019, 01:43:21 am »
    I looked to see if a poll had already been run--couldn't find one.

    The Kboards search is not very reliable  :(

    Non-fiction, Fiction, family saga, humour, short stories, teen, children's
    Jan Hurst-Nicholson | author website

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