…And That’s When I Realized My Bag Was Gone
In late October, I was the victim of a theft—specifically, my bag and its contents. Besides work materials from my day job, I lost a bunch of written notes from the semester, most of which were thankfully digitally stored; a couple of pieces of electronics, mainly my personal iPad and a camera that I treasured; and of course a bag of oatmeal raisin cookies. (I had recently returned something from Mikey’s Hook-Up, which has a very particular return policy.)
Alternately I had made light of, dismissed or ultimately suppressed this incident, but it left me feeling unnerved, stressed and set on my heels at just the moment I could least afford it. On the one hand, I felt a sense of lightness and that moment of karmic intervention Christina Xu described, yet it also highlighted key deficiencies in my workflow and process.
Funny thing that life, I keep thinking.
Getting Over the Stuff Stuff
I learned a lot from the stinging loss of that stuff, though the pain quickly subsided. Most of it was in the smart recovery and being able to take problems like this in stride and keep moving.
- Turns out, good backups are important. Most things were backed up in the past week, but losing my camera is the real disappointment—without a reliable pipe out, I delayed on getting things off there, which means a lot of photography is gone.
- … but not as important as the cloud. I had a couple of weird blips with Google Drive, but generally everything has kept on trucking with almost no delay. If you live your life in the cloud—and these days it’s relatively easy—your devices could take a bath on a weekly basis without much harm to your ability to get work done.
- Habits are difficult. I’ve made a go at setting up things from scratch, but the cost of trying to do that is really high, and makes me wonder if I really should have just spent the time restoring a recent device backup.
Making my workflow device-agnostic is a huge win. Friends, or at least classmates, know me as the iPad guy in the class. I avoided a full computer as much as I was able, to great success in some areas.
And overall, it’s made me mostly pleased with my early choice to store most thesis notes on GitHub. From a workflow perspective, re-establishing a means of adding posts and updating on thesis has literally required cramming my face into my iPhone—90% of what I wrote right after this time has been with my two thumbs. (Though when it rains it pours: My iPhone’s screen developed a bright spot, so I found myself at the Genius Bar the week after to have the thing replaced.)
It’s not all sunshine and puppies, of course. Taking a hard look at what I needed to do highlighted the deficiency of my workflow, which means continuing to struggle at doing things like providing timely updates or including more multimedia in my posts.
Looking to the Future
I persevered, but in reflection it was a more challenging affair than I gave myself credit for. It proved the cloud resilient and reliable, but ultimately I did not seek true recovery. But were a version of this to happen again, I’m already planning my escape. I’m taking this from the opposite of Christina—it’s time to begin my path down the KonMari method, popular though it may be. I’d already been thinking a lot about which items I carry and why just before my bag grew legs—and now I have little excuse not to spend a minute reflecting over more of what I can absolutely do without.
It’s also making me take charge of my workflow, so that I should feel comfortable with whatever comes my way in the future. I don’t want anything to slow me down anymore, and the best way to do that is to have an escape route for whenever any of my plans go awry.