The song was Big Yellow Taxi and Joni Mitchell recorded it in January of 1970 and it has stuck in my head like an earwig for fifty years. . .
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
It came flooding back into my head again over the Thanksgiving weekend when my laptop crashed and threatened to take all its data with it! For four long days I sat on the brink of not knowing if all my work would ever be retrieved all because I’d failed to back-up my work either in the cloud or on another hard drive. My bad.
I thought I’d lost all my work (and trust me, there’s a LOT of stuff on my laptop!). It housed my work with clients, my spreadsheets for projects and budgets, my lists, and journals – could all of it be gone? And on top of that, I had TWO older laptops and all their debris, dating back to about the year 2000 collected in folders on the laptop that crashed. I felt sick.
And then, a miracle happened. . .The technician (I’ll call him my techno-wizard) who’d set up this laptop when I bought it asked if I had my old, slow, lumbering laptop sitting around – the one he’d used as a template for the new machine back in August when I’d purchased it. And surprisingly I did – my plan had been to recycle that computer, but I had not done that yet.
He took the OLD laptop and promised to replicate it once again onto the newer machine – this would save decades of stuff but still meant that I’d lose the last 3 months of work – I wasn’t quite as sad. Still, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone was playing in my head.
Then, he called me and said he thought he might be able to save the newer data as well if I would retrieve a code from Microsoft and forward it to him. Happy to do this little chore, I was ecstatic at the thought of not having to re-work a dozen spreadsheets and who knows what else that would be lost along with the interim data created since August of this year.
Well, long-story-short, he did it! Last Monday afternoon he totally saved the laptop and all its contents (which, in the intervening week, I have carefully backed-up to two very precious hard drives)! And, for his heroism I gave him a $50 Caribou gift card – a small token of my deep appreciation for the wizard’s skills and perseverance!
What does all this have to do with self-care? Three things come to mind. . .
- Sometimes we simply must do what is good for us, to prevent the consequences of our procrastination and avoidance! Like exercise, backing up my computer work is not a task I particularly enjoy, and so I avoid it. Not anymore!!! Backing up my work has become a regular part of my workday and will continue to be, so that I can avoid this upsetting situation again!
- Sometimes we just get lucky, and the Universe gives us a do-over! I certainly didn’t “deserve” this good fortune, nor was I expecting it once I’d gotten the news that the laptop’s crash seemed fatal. The Universe gave me a Mulligan (for you golfers) and I want to make sure I take my next shot with great care – don’t ever waste a do-over!
- · When someone saves your bacon, THANK THEM – gratitude matters! The Caribou card was a small gesture but one that I could make immediately (Caribou is right around the corner from the Office Depot where my techno-wizard works) and without fluff or frill, make his day the way he’d made my day by saving my machine and all its information.
I hope you never find yourself or your business in such a predicament. I hope that when you need a wizard (of whatever sort) that s/he appears in front of you – like magic. I hope that when you’re discouraged and convinced that you’ve totally lost something or someone that matters to you, you’ll ask the Universe for YOUR do-over and, whether you get it or not, you’ll learn from the experience (as I have). I hope that gratitude will always be your go-to action.
Wishing you a great holiday season – one with no need for do-overs – and an opportunity to take stock of all that you have because, as the song says, Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. . .