On January 4th of this year, my computer died. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just my imagination, so I took it to a repair shop and, sure enough, they pronounced it dead. They said they could repair it for a few hundred dollars, but that the platform, Microsoft Vista, would no longer be supported effective January 1st 2017. I didn’t spend much time debating the merits of repairing the poor thing, so I decided to give it last rites and move forward with a new computer.
I feel very fortunate I had that computer at all. It was given to me by a former employer when it was decided by the financial gurus that this particular laptop was so ancient it no longer had any monetary value. So, it was outdated and on its last legs when I received it. I had it for over three years and it gave me the best it had to give. I think that’s pretty damn good for a piece of technology that had been officially determined to be worthless.
I used it almost every day: I have written in my daily journal with it; I built my website using it; I maintained all of my social media with it; I’ve kept all my financial records on it. Basically, my brains were stored in that old friend.
It was a very strange sensation to find myself without anything to write on. Writing in my journal every day has become such an ingrained habit, I felt thrown off-kilter every morning when I would, out of pure habit start thinking about what I would write that day. It was almost as if I suddenly had no shower available to use. Actually, I probably would’ve adjusted more easily to having no shower.
I know, I could have hand-written my journal. Most people who give advice on writing suggest you should write your thoughts out on paper because your thoughts will flow better with that brain to hand connection. However, when your handwriting is so poor even you can’t read what you’ve written, it makes more sense to write on a computer.
As the days passed and I was still deciding what I wanted to do about replacing my old computer, I realized how many of my legal and financial records were stored on that old thing. Not to mention all the records of my paintings and the expenses attached to them. Fortunately, I remembered I had everything saved to my Dropbox account, but it was an incredibly vulnerable feeling.
Because of my schedule and other things going on in my life, I was unable to shop for a replacement until the weekend came. In that week that I was without my computer I spoke to a lot of people about computers and did a lot of thinking about what I wanted in a computer. My needs have changed in the last few years. I could no longer get away with just buying the cheapest computer possible. I needed to be able to manage my websites and store the pictures of my paintings.
My cell phone had been on it’s last leg for a long time and needed replacing also. I originally thought I’d get a PC, get used to it and then get a new phone. After a lot of thought, that just didn’t feel like the right way to go. I decided I needed to go Mac. All the way.
Saturday found me walking into the nearby Apple store and making one of their associates very happy. I took a deep breath and got what I thought were the best products for me at this time. I bought a MacPro and an Iphone 6. I bought all the accessories and upgrades that I thought were appropriate for my needs. For once in my life, I did not pinch pennies. It did not cause physical pain, but there was a certain level of anxiety.
I learned how to use computer on a Mac and at one point in time did a lot of graphics on one. That point in time was 25 years ago and I have used Microsoft PC’s for work and home for the last 25 years. Believe it or not, things have changed a little in that amount of time.
I am already getting comfortable with both of my new purchases. I took a Mac workshop the day after I bought mine and was pleased to find that I already knew more than I had realized. There is still a large learning curve ahead of me, but I look forward to the challenges.
I feel truly lucky that I had so much saved on my Dropbox account. There was only one file that I had not kept updated in that account: my paintings and all the documentation attached to their record keeping had not been updated since August. I am grateful I had as much as I did, but I am not looking forward to the hours it will take to re-enter all the missing information. For an artist the record keeping is the dull, necessary side of the coin and I am not looking forward to having to devote so much time to something so tedious.
All of this brings me to the reason for sharing this story: for the first time in over a year I missed posting on this blog. I realize that no one depends on my weekly post, but I have committed myself to sharing a part of myself with you each week. Sometimes whether you like it or not.
I feel like I have now equipped myself with the best tools I can to continue with that commitment. I promise I will continue to share my thoughts and ramblings on all the subjects that pique my interest or that I find humorous or informative. So, on your marks, get ready, here I come.