If you read the ‘About’ section on this blog you will already know that I spent some time working in technology. I liked it. Maybe a lot. I was not a heavy-duty computer programmer. I didn’t do Cobol. (Do they still use that?) Or Unix, much. (Is that still around?) That was for the big guns not for me, a crossover from the accounting world. But I was a developer and a tester using software to modify and build new applications and programs in business technology. And so I got used to doing things in a ‘test environment’ which was a copy of “production” or the real world.
Design, build, test, modify, retest, deploy to production for the users to see, enjoy and experience. Hopefully the testing was robust enough to catch any bugs or problems the new software might introduce. Fortunately, that was usually the case. (Not always. Then the newly deployed program got yanked out of production in a hurry. Or worse yet, those problems remained undetected for a period of time and had to be fixed later. Ah, those were the days.)
This left me spoiled in some ways. Take this blog for instance. I have recently begun to use software that allows me to write and publish posts for free (thank you wordpress). For the most part it is straightforward and user friendly and I am very pleased with it. However, I miss having a true test environment. Oh I know there is the ‘Preview’ function which is very, very nice. But it does not allow me to do the kind of robust testing I am used to. And when you are not a risk taker, that is a bit uncomfortable. I have found for example, in ‘Preview’ mode everything might look exactly as I want but once I hit ‘Publish’ I realize I have overlooked something or my post doesn’t look as expected in every place. Still, these are minor things and I am learning the nuances of this software and am very happy with it.
But deeper than that. I have often thought how nice it would be to have a ‘test environment’ for Life. To be able to try out careers for a few weeks. Or find out how retirement might work out on a daily basis from all angles. Or how about being able to test those words and actions and how they might be received by a friend or stranger or loved one. (Oh! I will not deploy THAT to production!)
But we must live our lives speaking words and making choices in the real world without a test environment or even a preview mode, by faith if you will. I suppose that makes it all the more interesting. But it might also cause us to sometimes pause and weigh what we are about to do or say and the effect it may have on our future selves and others.
Maybe the real world is a test environment?