I’ve spent the last few months trying to carve out a little bit of time for myself to write each day. I snag thirty minutes here and there – when the kids are napping or while they lie on the sofa in a T.V. coma watching “Paw Patrol”. More recently I discovered a new little trick for finding some time to write. A few days a week I head to the YMCA, drop the boys off at Child Watch, go to yoga for an hour, and then use the second hour for uninterrupted writing time. No sippy cups to fill or snacks to dish out. No naked parades through the house. I almost feel civilized when I write at the Y.
Yesterday looked promising on all accounts. Jackson practically pranced out the door, excited to be eating lunch at preschool for the first time. He proudly carried his Star Wars lunch box in one hand and rambled on during the entire drive. I dropped Jackson off at school and as I buckled Parker back into his car seat he asked, “Where we going, Mommy?” I braced myself for the onslaught of tears and drama, but he did not complain one bit when I told him we were heading to the Y.
The stars were aligning. I dropped Parker off at Child Watch and checked the clock. I was only seven minutes late for yoga. A new record for my punctuality. I felt quite accomplished as I walked into class. I rolled out my mat. I relaxed. I breathed. Then later, as I looked behind me while doing a downward dog, I saw a face peeking through the window into the studio. She looked familiar. Was she trying to get my attention? I pointed to my chest, me? She nodded. I plopped down on my mat and realized it was a YMCA employee who had come to retrieve me. Parker had pooped, of course! There is no such thing as life without interruptions. I walked back to Child Watch, changed a poopy diaper and got back in time for the last ten minutes of yoga. The good news was that I would now have the next full hour to work on some writing.
I sat down at my little table and pulled out my iPad. This is when the unraveling began. I was greeted by this screen, a screen that would not go away despite all my wishing and thinking and trying.
You see, I’m not very savvy with technology. I’m a virtual granny. I’ve never backed up a single file, photo, or device. As I sat staring at that perplexing screen, I realized that I was getting ready to lose big time in the game of technology. It was time to navigate The Six Stages of Data Loss. I hope the same fate never finds you, but just in case it does, here’s what to expect:
Stage 1: Confusion
In this stage, your brow furrows. Your face is lost in deep thought and concentration as you try to resolve the problem. Your head tips from one side to the other as you consider different solutions. You think, “This is so weird. Why is my iPad locked? I’ve never seen this screen before. And why would it say, ‘iPad is disabled’? There is not even a keypad on the screen to type in my passcode. Where did THAT go? So weird.”
Stage 2: Fear
This stage is marked by a tightening in your chest. Uncertainty creeps into your mind as you walk through endless “what ifs” and none of the outcomes are pleasing. Sweat begins to pool in your armpits as you frantically turn the device on and off over and over again. You think, “Shit. What if I can’t get my iPad to work again? What if I lose everything? That would be catastrophic. Horrible. A national disaster.”
Stage 3: Hope
You wonder if maybe you are overreacting. Maybe this isn’t doom and gloom. There is a chance that the iPad will work again and all your files will be intact. You seek out positive energy and good vibes. Your mind explores, “Maybe if I let it sit for a while, it will start working again. I’ll just wait. Surely there is someone somewhere who knows how to fix this thing. I know, I’ll google it. Google always solves everything. It can’t be that complex. There must be a way to fix it!”
Stage 4: Anger
Then the rage finds you. You’re frustrated by the ridiculousness of the situation. You want to throw the device out a nearby window. That would serve it right for locking up on you. Heat rises to your face as you scream internally, “Why is it still not working?? This is MY iPad. All I want to do is open it. I’m not asking for much. Open! Open! Open! How can they do this to me? I’m so mad at Apple and my purse and my keyboard. One of them or all of them are to blame. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.”
Stage 5: Self-Loathing
The anger soon transfers to yourself. You beat yourself up. You feel incompetent. You wonder, “What is wrong with me? This has probably happened to exactly nobody else in the entire world. Only a crazy lady could permanently lock her iPad. Clearly, I am a crazy lady. And I suck.”
Stage 6: Acceptance
You come to terms with the situation. Even though the problem feels quite tragic in the moment, you know deep down that it’s not the end of the world. It just feels like it is. You check in with perspective. You think, “It’s gone, all gone. I’ll just breathe in and out. I can’t fix or change or redo any of it. I’ll have to start anew.”
I pieced together that the problem started as I carried my iPad and wireless keyboard inside my purse. The keyboard was turned on and as it jostled with each step, the keyboard keys were pressed, resulting in too many invalid attempts to unlock the iPad. This happened so many times that it permanently locked me out. As in forever. I called the Apple folks who confirmed that the only thing to do at this point was to wipe the iPad clean and start anew. My writing was gone. Lost in space. I would be starting fresh.
I really didn’t want to start fresh. I was grumpy for a whole day. However, after slowly navigating The Six Stages of Data Loss I realized that it will all be okay. Stories will keep unfolding, I will keep writing. While Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put back together again, my lost files won’t have the same fate. They can be recreated with some time and effort.
So tonight I raise my glass to all the fresh starts we make by choice or circumstance, misfortune or ignorance. It’s hard to start again. I look outside my window and see that spring is on the verge of breaking through. It is just beginning its own fresh start. The yellow blooms from the forsythia quietly unfold, and I notice daffodils standing poised and proud in the morning sun. Green leaves sprout from the stalks of our hydrangea. Spring is all around me, offering the gentle reminder that starting over is well worth all the effort. After all, starting anew is the precursor to each and every bloom.
Now I’m off to retrieve my iPad. I think I tossed it somewhere in the bushes. Stage 4 can be brutal.