For as long as I can remember, I have been diligent about storing all my files, photos, and records electronically. Spreadsheets and syllabi related to my yoga studio work, playlists and class sequences from eight years of teaching, my decade-long speechwriting portfolio, photos dating back to the beginning of my husband's and my courtship, and journals and writing projects from as far back as college were locked safely into a thumbdrive I carried with me almost constantly.
Over the years my husband, among others, urged me to back up the drive on a cloud or other device just in case... It wasn't that I didn't know it was a good idea or an obvious safeguard, I just never got around to it. And then one sunny afternoon as I typed away on the laptop resting on my knees, the inevitable happened: as I reached for my water, the computer slid from my lap onto the floor, landing squarely on the drive and snapping it in half.
In those few seconds, the faces of every person who had urged me to save my work elsewhere paraded through my mind, and the mental catalogue of the documents I had lost caused my stomach to drop. I unplugged the now unreadable drive, put it back in my purse, and refused to acknowledge to myself - let alone admit to others - what happened.
Days later, when the shock subsided, I began to consider my options. Living in DC, there are, of course, professionals who specialize in data recovery, and I did my due diligence. But as much as the loss weighed down my heart, I couldn't justify the four figure investment required to bring the material back to life. Instead, I started over.
One by one, I have begun recreating the spreadsheets by combing through email exchanges and calendar notes. I have begged the forgiveness of friends and colleagues as I asked them to repeat the answers to scheduling questions or send previous versions of documents on which we collaborated.
While some things can be reconstructed, many are gone forever, and I have no choice but to let go. In yoga we talk about aparigraha - or non-attachment, but the concept has never felt so real. On the positive side, starting over is causing me to be more creative - I can't default to a class sequence I mapped out last year or cut and paste from a template on a writing project. I must instead create everything from a fresh perspective. While the process requires more work to accomplish each item on my to-do list, it is forcing me to live out of imagination rather than memory, and with every document I recreate or accept as lost and gone forever, I feel a renewed sense of peace.
Where can you admit defeat and let go? What can be made even better by starting over?