Learning from the crash

A few nights ago my computer cashed, and then it would not start past the boot screen. I tried everything: a live CD, windows boot CD, repair start up- it just wasn’t working. It terrifyingly only allowed me to peek at the boot device list and see that the HDD (hard drive) was no longer recognized. I used to have a sync and back up schedule, but with hundreds of gigabites of photos and a few months writing on solar panel and generator electricity, my routines had somehow fallen by the wayside. I backed up the absolute essentials, but not the creature comforts of my hard drive.

After the initial panic, a good night’s sleep and a drop off at the repair man, I got a-thinking about what this crisis could teach me. You see, I am in the middle of what can only be described as a shake up in my life: finishing my PhD and moving on with my further life while still reminiscing about a year spent writing by the sea. The computer crash brought to life the reality of needing to  cover the basics and remember some solid ground rules in life:

1. Always follow through on your hunches- for quite a while I could see the computer was struggling, while I wondered whether to get a new hard drive and researched it, I also then let the interest fade back into obscurity.

2. Look after the small big things  – the basic things which make life run smoothly almost seamlessly. This is especially important in hard times when large scale concerns dominate your daily thinking. The experience of endless issues is born as much from letting important yet easy tasks fall by the wayside when bigger monsters rear their head.

3.  Seize opportunities for a shake up – as soon as something frightening happens and you have to react and fix things there is also the chance to snap out of your current mind set and re-evaluate the priorities which led to the issue cropping up in the first place. A bolt to the system is not necessarily a bad thing – once you get over the initial shock that is.

In the end data can usually be regained. Even when lost, the re-write will often bring fresh insights. In computers and in life, it’s not the crash, but the comeback that counts.


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