NOTE: The following message was written and posted to a group of fellow Y2K activists in the first week of January, 2000, when my feelings were still fresh.......... and rather raw, as you will see.
Well, just over a week has passed since rollover and I thought I would get some of my thoughts down.
I've read the pieces by Yourdon, North and Hyatt and while I think they all made many valid and reasonable points, it seemed to me as if they missed the main point -- that they were wrong about Y2K. They were wrong in a big, big, big way and nothing they said can change that or explain it away.
So, I'll start by saying I was wrong about Y2K. I was very, very wrong. Y2K has been the focal point of both my personal and my professional life for the past 18 months. In fact, my whole life has revolved around Y2K and, in retrospect, I would have to say that it was a colossal waste of my time, energy, ability and resources.
Of course, it wasn't all a waste. I met a lot of good, public spirited, intelligent, competent, humorous, sincere and honest people – both on-line and in person. I am now extremely well prepared for any future earthquake .......or pretty much anything else. I learned about a lot of new things. And maybe my community prep work earned me some good karma :-).
But I paid a very big price for these benefits -- a price which, in retrospect, I sincerely wish I had not paid. There were other interests that could have been pursued, causes that could have been fought for, items that could have been purchased, books that could have been read, web sites that could have been visited, talks that could have been attended, conversations that could have been had.
I also paid a big price emotionally. I spent a lot of time emersed in negative and pessimistic thoughts, worrying about the future, and prematurely grieving over the pain and dislocation that I was afraid I and others might suffer.
Luckily I never made any brash predictions about what was going to happen. In fact, I said repeatedly (in articles, talks, workshops and conversations) that I didn't know what was going to happen but that I felt that serious disruptions were a real possibility and, therefore, the prudent thing to do was to prepare.
And it was a prudent thing to do. It just turns out now, in retrospect, not to have been necessary. So my assessment of the risks was way off.....way, way off.
Of course, I'm happy that I was wrong. In fact, I don't think I've ever been so happy about being wrong in my life. If it had to go one way or the other, I'm very, very, very glad it went this way. I like my creature comforts, safety for my family, and a functioning (albeit inequitable) economic system. I like the fact that I can now start work on some very interesting long-term projects. I'm hardly a big supporter of the status quo but I think it's definitely preferable to the sort of world that might have emerged if there had been serious infrastructure failures.
I did a great deal to prepare for serious disruptions but now I'm thankful for the supplies and equipment that I didn't buy and for the prep steps that I didn't take. I did a lot of outreach work but now I'm thankful for the people I didn't contact, for the letters I didn't send, for the literature I didn't distribute. Thank the Lord for small favors.
I had a running e-mail dialogue with my younger brother over the past year and a half, encouraging him to take the situation seriously and to get prepared. He was a DGI (Don't Get It) -- at least I thought so at the time. Now if I were honest with myself I would have to say that despite his apparent wrongheadedness, his "denial," and relative lack of knowledge and information on Y2K, he was the GI (Get It) and I was the DGI -- quite humbling really.
Several days ago I sent him a note admitting that he had been right to prepare minimally (very minimally :-)) and I had been wrong to make such a big deal of it. To his credit, he passed up the opportunity to rub my nose in it. He was very generous in his response and didn't try to make me feel any more foolish than I already felt.
I could come up with a lot of well reasoned justifications for my involvement with Y2K but I don't feel the need to. I could beat myself up for it, too, but I don't feel the need for that either. My concerns seemed well founded at the time, based on the things I was learning. My intentions to be of service to my family, neighbors and others were good and honorable throughout.
I don't blame anyone else for what I did. I don't feel I was led astray by others (at least certainly not intentionally) and I take full and total responsibility for everything I did.
There are undoubtedly some lessons to be learned here but I'm not sure what they are yet. Mostly I'm just glad that it's behind me and I'm looking forward to getting on with the rest of my life.
I want to thank everyone on the list for sharing so unstintingly. It's been quite an experience.
P.S. As I said in the subject line, these are my personal reflections. They aren't intended to apply to anyone else. Each of us has our own unique history, psychological makeup, personal philosophy, worldview, etc., therefore, YMWV.