20 Years Ago

On the first of April 2000, I started working at my office. I had spent 2 years searching for a job in my hometown, without success. When I finally applied for jobs in Brussels, my employer (not sure I can disclose) contacted me for a one year contract. 20 years later, I still sit on the same chair.

The office has changed a lot in twenty years. At that time, people (me included) could still smoke while working. What a chocking sight it must be for nowadays folks to see a full ashtray beside the keyboard. By then, it was totally normal. There was only one computer for the entire office, no internet connection and no home-working. We had drinks every Friday afternoon and we were spending our lunchtimes at the pub next door.

A drink at the office, 17 years ago.

I spent my first salary on a colour printer and the first picture I printed was a picture of Björk. Only three months later, I was moving to my first place, which was more of a studio than an apartment, but I loved it. I lived there alone for two years, I was playing a lot of Counter-Strike and drinking a lot of beer.

The world has also changed much. Everybody has a smartphone now, when I started working I was the only one of my office to own a cel phone, a Nokia 5110. I was still renting movies on VHS, video clubs have long been replaced by streaming services. Not everyone had internet at home, now it has become a necessity.

In 20 years, I got married to my soulmate , I quit smoking and I almost don’t drink anymore. However, even if the world around me has changed a lot, I haven’t changed much. PC gaming is still my thing, I still watch a lot of TV and I’m still more interested by Reddit’s most popular posts than by the news (which I still don’t watch).

It feels like yesterday that I entered my office for the first time, nervous and dressed with the suit I had bought for the university exams. The song I was the most listening to was Bouga – Belsunce Breakdown and my head was filled clichés from Matrix. While I realised that I am not Neo (I swear), my head is still filled with the same cyber-dreams as it was before.

I wonder what the next 20 years will be filled with. By then, I’ll probably be getting close to retirement, if such there’s still such a thing and if the world still exists…


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