My primary laptop is one that I have owned since early 2007. It has seen me through 3 and a half years, life in two cities, university life, 2 years of work, visits to 6 countries and more relationships, dates, what-have-you than I care to count and tell. I kept it running most of the time because I used it constantly. Most of my life ran on it. I depended on it for everything. With this being the digital age that it is, it stores everything I’ve ever collected since I first got it: All my pictures, videos, music, movies, documents, anything you could possibly think of.
It has memories in the form of pictures of my ex with whom I was for 3 years, and who bought me my first camera. It has videos of my best friend and me and the good times we had. It has instant messaging conversations that remind me of how a man tried to win me over time and again and then how that relationship deteriorated. It has stories that a boy I liked very much had written and wanted to share with me stored in a folder dedicated to him.
It has notes I’ve written in happy moods, in sad frames of mind, to resolve confusions. It has letters I’ve written when I was missing someone and couldn’t talk to them but needed to express it. It contains a journey, a story, drama, frustration, joy, sorrow, tears.
It crashed 4 days ago. I tried unsuccessfully to boot it again and again. Each time it gave me the same error. It could not load the operating system. When it finally gave me a little option to try ‘System Restore’, it proceeded to inform me that my computer did not have any ‘restore points’ on it and that maybe I would like to create one. The verdict was in: the laptop is dead.
What is surprising is that it did not affect me very deeply. Everything I mentioned and so much more has just disappeared. I will never get it back. I know everything’s lost forever but it isn’t as upsetting as it should be. Do we just get used to loss?
Relationships end, people we love step out of our lives and we never see them again. Relationships end, people we love hurt us and things are never the same again. Relationships end, people we love cause irreparable damage and we are never the same again.
We lose our heart to the wrong people, lose our nerve when going after the right ones, lose them, lose our happiness when we lose them, lose our calm when we realise nothing can be done about it. After losing so much that held immeasurable importance in our lives, it must get easier to deal with the loss of more trivial things. Digital memories serve as good reminders but they can’t mean as much as real ones.