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Photo by imakethings

So over the weekend I got bored and decided to kill my computer.

Well, that’s not exactly how it happened, but I did get the flashing question mark of doom and learned that my hard drive was inaccessable, i.e. dead. I’m not sure exactly how this happened, but it may have something to do with the some 10,000+ photo files and the plethora of documents and info carelessly crammed in there.

Regardless of the cause, I felt panicked and really depressed at first. The techie at the Apple Store looked at me with pity as I walked shamefully back to the car after learning my computer’s sad fate. The initial feeling of loss was so great–in my mind it was almost as if all the memories lost in those photos had been completely taken away. I did have the majority of my photos packed up via disk, external hard drives, online photo programs, etc., but there was a good little chunk of the past year that I didn’t have on file anywhere else.

After resigning myself to the fact that it was likely too expensive to pay for data recovery at this stage in our lives ($1,000 is no pocket change for us!), I began thinking more deeply about my situation.

I realized that even with the photos I still have, I have far more snapshots of my children’s lives than I have of my entire childhood, and my eldest is only 6. I thought about how much time was spent even taking those photos, and how, in the end, how futile an effort it really is.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me feel fuzzier inside than looking back at our family photos, watching my kids sleep, drool, crawl, run around naked, and blow out birthday candles all over again. But the photos become a crutch for our memories in a way. And the business of taking the photos (and then spending hours editing and uploading them) can take away from our experience of actually living the very events we’re trying to capture.

I don’t mean to say that I’ll likely stop taking photos any time soon, but I was able to realize the importance of separating the value of life lived from the mass of photos hoarded. I will certainly be more attentive to backing up my files regularly on my still-to-be-acquired new hard drive. And although I do have my husband’s computer to use as needed, I think it was fitting for this to happen just in time for Holy Week–there’s nothing like the true meaning of Easter to put my life into perspective!