Reflecting Back When I Overpaid for My First Computer a Pentium 233Mhz

Sitting here thinking back when I bought my first computer in 1998. A pentium 233mhz with Windows 95 about 16megs of RAM with a 3.1 Gig Hardrive. I financed that thing for $1800. It took me a year to pay it. I probably overpaid by about $1000 at the time. I didn't know any better. 

It was the start of my new life as a civilian, getting out of the Army and making just little over minimum wage. But thinking back on it and all the benefits I have gotten from that first computer. That computer held on through my BS in computer science. I had it for so long that the fan in the power supply stopped working from all the dust that built up on it. The ability to learn all sorts of things and teach myself programming. 

I didn't know it then but everyone thought I was loosing my marbles and thinking I was wasting all my hard earned money buying more and more computer books (probably over 300 books over the next four years). 

Everywhere I went I had a computer book. How is an Army Cannon Crew Member going to be any good at computers any way? Programming didn't come natural to me, but I worked my butt off to learn it. Many nights well into the next morning.  I wrote a single player tic tac toe game and gave the computer enough intelligence to beat most players.  Some people whom I gave it to, argued that it was unbeatable.  All with self taught programming from a "C++ For Dummies" book.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever created, although under hood the hood it was an abomination of coding practices, but hey... it worked.

Now I look back and realize just how far I've come but also realize I have much more to go. At the same time as I look at my son starting his adult life I remind him son "Son you have to put in the work and pay your dues, the 1000 mile journey begins with the first step".  I have to remind him that my success didn't come quick or easy.  There were many luxuries that we went without, like cable and eating out for instance, cell phones weren't as common then so those were out too.  Our family car was a old '89 Toyota Tercel that ended up throwing a rod on I35 with me and the kids in it.  So I have to remind him to not give up and keep going.  Don't be disheartened by the distance of the goal. Instead focus on it and take the next step that will get you closer.

But getting back to the subject and looking back on that overpriced computer I have to really ask "did I overpay for that computer?".  

I'll leave with this question: What is the best investment you ever made for your career? 


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