I've had to let go of plenty of things in my life, especially as of late. My Manhattan-based routine of the last seven years has been completely thrown out the window in favor of Queens. Many of my possessions have been given or thrown away, a majority of the remainder resting comfortably, boxed up and locked up in storage. My cell phones seem to die at least once a year, and their constant and repeated replacements force me to forfeit sentimental text messages not saved to the SIM card and phone numbers I never programmed in. A year and a half ago, I said goodbye to a job that I'd held for nearly seven years, leaving behind an office, an assistant, many friendships, and, hopefully, a professional legacy.
Friends get married. People move away. Guys stop calling with no reason given.
And now, when my self-employed life is basically centered around a mere laptop, portable to any wifi signal I can pick up, that laptop has now failed me more than ever before.
Although all my data is backed up and remains on the computer, programs, drivers, preferences, settings and passwords are gone. Nearly four years' worth of customizing has disappeared. Sure, I have a new, clean operating system installation, something that has made my computer run faster and more bug-free than possibly ever before. But I am, very much, reticently, starting over.
I didn't even own my own computer until 2002, shortly after I was laid off from my job at Atlantic Records. Before that, I practically lived there, using their phone as my primary telecommunications device, their mailing address for package deliveries, their server for email, their computer, their office supplies, and even sometimes their couches for naps. If they'd had a shower, I would have just moved in. But packing up my office after four and a half years - totaling 15 boxes of God-only-knows-what - and losing some things in the process, leaving some things behind, I had to once again learn how to let go, as I had each year before, moving from dorm to dorm, family to family.
In the scheme of things, the mechanical failure of my laptop - my financial life-blood as a freelancer right now - was minor. Annoying. An inconvenience. The most important thing is that I didn't lose my prized digital possessions like music, pictures, writing and the like.
But now that I'm starting over with a clean slate, I wonder why I should bother investing so much time and effort in the customization of my computer environment. Why bother getting to know someone if they're only going to leave you? Why hang pictures on the wall if you're only going to move soon?
Why love anything?
At the same time, I can't help but try to make every moment count, to live rather than just exist or survive. I hammered a few nails in the wall of my new Queens bedroom after a couple weeks. I miss my roommate when he's not there (and even when I'm not there).
And I'm currently downloading all my add-ons for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, because only one web browser is simply not enough.
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