I’m really not great with technology. I am constantly on my computer or attached to my phone, yes, but when it comes to how things work, I rely almost entirely on techie friends. So, you can imagine the pure dread that went through me about a month and a half ago when my computer started making strange noises, froze, and then the “blue screen of death” popped up asking me to restart the computer.
But worse…when I did that, this disturbing message popped up:
Insert full-blown panic.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that “life” is saved on my computer. And it’s true—I have a lot of memories, both in picture and journal format, saved in electronic files. (Thankfully most of my digital materials for work are saved on the school computer or in the cloud, so that was less of an issue).
Fortunately, as I mentioned before, I have techie friends. I sent a few frenzied photos to them on my phone, and they succeeded in calming me down. No, the world wasn’t ending. And no, shockingly, I wouldn’t need to buy a whole new computer. Richard was kind enough to come over, attempt to recover information from my fried hard drive (no luck), and then go out and get me a new hard drive, install it, get me set up with Windows 10 (I should have known that when I told him, “No, I like Windows 7…and if getting Windows 10 will be more work for you, just put the older version on it,” that there was no way he’d let me live with the “old version” of anything tech-related), and install the programs and apps I regularly use.
And, due to techie friends of my past, I do at least own an external hard drive to which I’d periodically backed up my computer. (Unfortunately, the last time I’d done this was 6 months ago). Better than nothing.
Last week, I finally got around to copying the files from my external hard drive onto my computer once again. At first glance, all of my folders and information appeared to be there. I eagerly began leafing through the files, ensuring everything was in its place.
Unfortunately, it’s not there. I have no idea what happened, because the computer was backed up on June 29, 2015, but only certain documents and pictures saved. I mean, I’m missing all of my photos from August 2013 through December 2014, but I have some from early 2015. I am missing select folders of documents from that time period, but others are saved. That “Year of Celebrations” document I blogged about at the end of the year? Totally gone. I don’t get it.
So I had a moment—again—of panic, of feeling like a part of me is gone, like I can’t go on without those memories.
But you know what? I think this was good for me.
It’s true, some of the lost data will be convenient. (Tonight’s project includes updating my resume, since I’m left with only the 2013 version of it). And it’s true I lost some pictures, which I regret. But most of my favorites are posted on facebook (thank goodness I’m such an addict), so I haven’t lost every memory of those years. And I lost of a lot of journal entries—but last fall, I mostly journaled about breaking up and getting back together and breaking up again with my ex, and so maybe those angsty, depressing journal entries are better off deleted. Some people say everything happens for a reason.
The clearest memories are the ones we keep in our minds, not the ones that have to be written down to ensure they won’t be forgotten. So this data loss has been a good reminder for me. The world doesn’t end with a few deleted files. There are more important things.