photo by adam foster via compfight
i did something stupid a few weeks ago. dave and i were hanging out, watching wilfred (or was it sherlock?), and indulging in a couple of glasses of wine, when i moved to get up off the couch (for the first time in hours), and proceeded to knock my wine glass over onto my laptop. my open laptop. spilling every last drop over my keyboard.
yeah. great start to 2013, right? so after some frantic shrieking and grabbing of papertowels, we sit down to soak up the red stuff, then shove the whole thing into a cereal box full of rice. 24 hours later i had lost the use of a few of the keys, but it was nothing a wireless keyboard couldn't solve. until a week later when our internet started wreaking havoc on our network and i went to reboot my laptop.
and, friends? it. didn't. turn. back. on. everytime i tried to boot it back up, the machine froze about 4 seconds into it.
enter panic mode.
i am one of those life lessons everybody talks about. i had thought about backing up my computer (and the last 5 years of my home life and work life), but never got around to it. so now i'm faced with the possibility of losing everything. yikes, right?
well, yes and no. after an initial freak out and proclamation of "my life is over", i've done a little thinking, and really, this might not be the worst. thing. ever. in fact, it could be the start of something good, if not great. do you think i'm crazy right about now? when these thoughts first hit me, i definitely thought i was crazy. but here's the thing: losing everything forces you to start over and do it better.
does that make sense?
yes, i had dozens of story ideas painstakingly logged in word documents, hundreds of photos of friends and family, and everything i've ever created for this blog stored in that computer. but you know what? i never did much with the story ideas i had written down, and i pinned a lot of my writing hope on the few stories i wrote in high school and the following couple of years. i also had hundreds, if not thousands of webpages in my favourites.
that computer is (was?) the source of forgotten hopes and dreams and wasted hours (and days).
so you know what? i'm viewing this as an opportunity - not as a soul-crushing defeat. this is an opportunity, my friends, for a reset. here's why:
1. my online reading list will contain only that which is actually important
over the years, i've saved many a url and blog link or tutorial in various "favourite" folders. i think by the time christmas rolled around, i had close to 1,000 links stored. that's insane. there's no way i was honestly looking at all those websites and blogs on any kind of consistant basis. and when i did look at one i hadn't visited in a long time, i would feel this insane need to try and catch up on everything i had missed.
you know what i learned after my laptop refused to restart? i only remembered maybe 10 or 15 blog and site names, and maybe another dozen design and home reno tutorials. i only remembered the sites and information i actually cared about and wanted to spend time reading and studying. so that is what will go into my new reading list - not any of the other "filler" material i found over the years.
2. i will actually have to work to have a portfolio
it's no secret in my daily life that i can procrastinate with the best of them. and good god do i procrastinate when it comes to writing fiction. the funny thing is - i love writing fiction. i just don't do it. maybe it's nerves or fear (or extreme laziness), but i don't have a lot of recent work to show. and if i ever want to market myself as a writer, shouldn't i have a little more of a body of work to show for the years i've spent "writing"?
maybe this hit to my portfolio will actually get me off my ass (and ironically to a computer chair) and get me writing.
3. i can stop focusing on past desires or goals and focus instead on what my 25-year-old self wants
i have a lot of inspiration documents and images saved on my old laptop. many of which contain the hopes and dreams and ideas my 20-year-old self wanted and was interested in. which are radically different from what i want now, and from what i see myself wanting in the future. but being able to look back and scroll through the images and files kept these past interests and goals fresh and alive, when they really should have come to an end a long time ago.
in 2013 and beyond, i want to focus on what i actually want, not on what i think i should still want, or what other people want me to want.
how would you react to losing everything on your hardrive?
(note: this is a great time to go ahead and back up your computer - learn from my mistakes, folks!)