I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like change, especially change that I can’t control. To be even more specific, I don’t like change associated with technology. Software, operating systems and apps always need to be updated! And as soon as you update something and get used to the changes, a new one is released. My response to all of these updates is for the most part to ignore them.
Example one: I’ve had my iPhone since November 2012 and until last month I had never updated the operating system. Even then, I only did it because everyone kept telling me my outdated system was a security threat.
Example two: I got my macbook almost five years ago and the operating system it came with is the one I stuck with until last summer when my outdated system prevented me from downloading new programs. I decided it was time to update. Before I did, I backed up everything on my computer just like the instructions told me to. My understanding was that when you updated to a new operating system, all your files would be wiped off your computer. I was quite excited when that didn’t happen!
Right after this update, yet another new operating system came out. I ignored it for eight months. Until yesterday. Yesterday I decided to get with it and update my computer. I had no problems before, so I assumed it would be the same this time and I didn’t back up my files. My mistake, I know.
That’s when my computer had a meltdown (the good news is that I did not have a meltdown alongside it!) and told me that my hard drive was damaged and could not be repaired. I used my mom’s computer to google some solutions, but everything I found was way beyond my comprehension. Instead, I made a reservation at the Apple store Genius Bar and spent the rest of the evening working on my jigsaw puzzle (my jigsaw puzzle that is a picture of yarn…sometimes I really think I’m in the wrong generation…).
Good news – the Genius Bar guy was very nice and helpful. As an added bonus, he explained things using really great analogies without making me feel stupid! And it was free. Bad news – he had to erase my hard drive. Let me remind you that I did not back up my computer first. The good-ish part about this is that as I have been convalescing since I last backed up my files, I didn’t lose too many important documents.
While I (surprisingly) wasn’t stressed about my computer last night, I was annoyed. Don’t I have enough to deal with right now? Do I really need to go to yet another appointment?
Today, however, I have some new perspective. I’m always looking for learning opportunities, and believe it or not, I was reminded of some life lessons at the Apple store.
First of all, meltdowns happen (again, my computer, not me). It’s okay to get stuck and admit we are in over our heads. It’s okay to be overwhelmed by change. And it’s okay to take some time out.
As soon as I couldn’t fix my computer by restarting it (my go-to solution) I figured that I would have to take it to the Apple store. This brings me to lesson number two – it’s okay to ask for help. This has been heavily reinforced to me over the last year and a half with all of my medical issues. There are people who spent anywhere from four to thirteen years in school learning how to deal with health problems like mine and I would be foolish not to get their help. But it’s not just medical problems. Whether it is a technology problem, a comprehension problem, an emotional problem, an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life problem, whatever it may be, there are people out there who can help. Here’s a really simple example: if my sister wants a baby blanket for her friend who is expecting, she’s going to come to me, but If I need help with calculus, I’m going to go to her, the high school math teacher. We all have our own skills and our own areas of expertise. I think that in this day and age, where so much information is online, we often feel like we should be able to solve our own problems. The internet can be a good place to start, but there is only so much help it can give. We get stuck there, going around in circles looking for answers only to end up frustrated. There is no shame in admitting we don’t know something. In reaching out and seeking help we also make connections with people that we might not have made otherwise, and that can be a beautiful thing.
And life lesson number three? Sometimes we just need to start over. This can be scary, but trying something new, taking a new approach, or going in a different direction might be exactly what we need. My computer’s hard drive has been completely erased – no pictures, no documents, no settings or preferences. Yes, this means that I have to upload all my files, but it also means that I get to pick and choose what I really need on my computer. Making a fresh start is a chance to re-evaluate our priorities and put our focus on what’s most important. I have to re-set all my preferences and settings, but this means that I get to look through all the options again and maybe I will set things up in a way that I like even better than how it was before. We tend to get stuck in our routines until we are forced to make a change, but sometimes that change can have a really positive impact on the rest of our lives. Sometimes that changes brings about new opportunities. And yes, I lost some files. In terms of my computer, I can guarantee you that I will never again update without backing up my files first. In terms of the bigger picture, loss is a part of life. Maybe it makes way for bigger and better things, maybe it allows us to move on, or maybe it just teaches us to be grateful for what we have, to do what we can to hold on to the good things. Whatever the outcome, loss happens.
So there you go, that’s what I learned at the Apple store today.
I also learned some things about computers, but if I tried to put that into a blog post, it would probably be the most confusing and unhelpful post ever.
Besides, I think these reminders are more important.