[new mantra] it will be fine

My hard drive died.

Sitting at that genius bar with only scorched earth possibilities is … sobering. Galvanizing (surrounded by all that lovely metal, I couldn’t resist that word). Clarifying. What was important enough to have the very helpful young man give me a backup of? One thing. One thing that won’t surprise anyone. Family photos.

It Is You and all my other past and partial manuscripts were already backed up. Same with Word documents of family stories. But the one thing that was most overwhelming to save was the most overwhelming to consider losing.

There was a lot I chose not to save. I will miss the folder of positive notes about my writing that I’d hoarded, but I never looked at them after the first read-through. I don’t need a physical copy of them to let them bolster my faith in my dreams and my vision. I remember how wonderful they were and how important to me they are. That’s good enough. There were some hilarious extended family exchanges that I’d saved, but I’d never looked at them. I let them all go.

This has changed what my main focus of my Happiness/Stableness Project will be. The project is modeled after the one Gretchen Ruben did for herself (and has written two books about, The Happiness Project and Happiness at Home). The idea is to take a year (or so) to focus on and turn around areas of your life that are a drag on your happiness/stableness and pump up areas that are uplifting. Before today at 11:10 a.m., I’d had some ideas about what I needed to focus on: our finances, my irritability, my failure to be emotionally balanced or distanced or stable about the already (you are doing good writing that is satisfying and pleasing to you and to others) with the not yet (you do not yet have an agent or publisher) of my writing career.

I’ll still have some goals that relate to those broad issues, but those things just became secondary to the massive project of sentimental organization. Photos, cards, letters, kids’ stories, kids’ drawings, school projects — I know where they all are. Pre-2005 is in 3 neat file boxes. Post-2005 is shoved in a box, willynilly. It would break my heart if I lost these due to my own negligence.

So while I sat at the bar trying not to cry, surrounded by the genial geniuses, I came up with my September Happiness/Stability Project goals:

1. Figure out good backup procedures for everything. Implement them.

2. Restore and consolidate all digital photos from the various computers and external drives they’re on. Make sure they receive regular backups.

3. Work out (with husband) a budget that incorporates our new financial obligations and work on a system for regulating spending (envelope system?).

4. Finish reading The Happiness Project and interact with the others in the group.

And speaking of backups….

5. Schedule the RotoRooter people to prophylactically clear out sewer pipe so we don’t get a clog from tree roots and have a disgusting back-up problem of a different kind (like we did 2 years ago).

My computer works again, after being wiped clean, inside and out, which I’m grateful for. But who knows how long it will stumble on with only its left fan working?

And now for a little stress eating — for once, I’m taking the last chocolate chocolate chip muffin for myself.

Have any of you had to bounce back from this very modern catastrophe? How did you do it?