The Story Economy Blog

April is Not Too Late to Reset


Last week, I got a new MacBook Pro. It’s the seventh or eighth Mac I’ve bought in the 20+ years I’ve been a computer user. My first new one was 1996, when I went off to graduate school. I don’t recall it being stressful, because all I had to do was plug it in. I didn’t even have email yet! I brought with me one floppy disk full of English papers from college, but other than that, I had nothing to transfer.

Oh how times have changed. Now I have gigs and gigs and gigs of data. A gig wasn’t even a thing in 1996! I mean, gigabytes existed. We just didn’t carry them around with us. Megabytes were still the biggest deal in town. (Now, I have a terabyte drive!)

The last several times I’ve gotten a new computer, I simply transferred everything from the old machine to the new machine exactly as it was—essentially making a carbon copy of the old computer on my new one. Apple makes it unbelievably easy to do this. Email, files, downloaded software, passwords, pictures, music: it’s all magically there on your new computer, seamless as seamless gets. However, all the crap you don’t need or want is also magically there.

The computer I was replacing was slow and kind of screwed up, so I didn’t want to bring its baggage to my new computer. That meant manually transferring the things I needed. I don’t know how to explain to you the stress and agony the thought of this caused me! Googling how to move databases, searching for file names to drag and replace, re-downloading software, de-authorizing and re-authorizing: this shit is the height of anxiety for me.

To mitigate that anxiety, I tried to see the data transfer process in a new way. I asked myself two things: Judi—I always use my name when I talk to myself—Judi, first, what in the holy hell are you so afraid of, and second, what opportunity are you not seeing because of your fear?

I always thought my big fear was feeling stupid about technology, but when I talked honestly to myself (Judi! Listen up!), I realized that my big fear was actually around losing things like email conversations, passwords, settings, and access to data . . . thus not being able to do my job, thus not providing for my family, thus being a failure as a person and a provider. (Fear is nearly always ridiculous and exaggerated at the very root.)

So if that was the fear, then what was the opportunity? The answer occurred to me on a run (where most things of note occur to me): It was a chance to reset. I don’t feel like I really reset myself in January, what with the dread of the inauguration hanging over me and kicking off the year with horrible, recurring bouts of back pain.

This was my chance to reset, for real. Build from a fresh place, versus importing the old without discernment, just because it was easier. How often do we just import ideas from season to season and year to year, because it’s easier than manually choosing what to bring with us to a new adventure?

The process was stressful, to be sure. I had to call Apple twice, and do more things manually than I had hoped (some databases just don’t want to be imported in one fell swoop). But I did it. And now, I feel physically lighter when I open my laptop (which, added bonus, is also physically lighter). I haven’t had an uncluttered, carefully cultivated hard drive like this since 1996!

I’d like to say it’s inspired me to clean out my closet or prune my fabric stash. But not today. Spring cleaning can wait. I’ve got a lightning-fast hard drive, and content to write.

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