Back in September, when I accepted a job teaching 2 online classes, my spouse and I agreed that I would need a laptop of my own. When I was in Office Depot buying a new mouse, I saw they were having a great back-to-school sale that was ending that very day.
I spent some time testing out the keyboards and looking at specs. In the end, I bought one that had the biggest hard drive: more storage space!
I brought it home where it sat in the box for 40 days. I only took it out of the box when I needed to send part of the box in to get the refund. And so it sat on the guest room bed for weeks and weeks.
I took it with me on our Thanksgiving travels, but I never plugged it in. My friends began asking me, "Have you plugged in your laptop yet?"
What finally prompted me to do it? I knew that my brother-in-law was coming, and that I wouldn't be able to be sure of access to the desk top that's in the guest room. I knew that my final papers would be coming in and that online grades would be due the first week he'd be here.
One Sunday night a few weeks ago, I decided to be brave, and I plugged it in. I spent some time teaching the laptop to find the Internet. It took more attempts than I thought it should, but I was patient.
So, as an Internet surfing device, it was great--worst case scenario, I could get the work done for my online classes. But I still need to be able to write on it.
Thus began the inner debate: buy the newest edition of Microsoft Office? Put a copy of 2007 on the laptop? As an educator, I can get cheap access to Office, at $10 a year. But it seems to be only applicable to one computer. I now live in a house with multiple computers.
So, I decided to load Office 2007 onto the laptop. It took me some time to figure out where the machine had stored it. I still really don't know. But now I have shortcuts on the desktop to get me to the programs that I need.
Now my next goal: before the holidays are over, to get the important stuff from the desk top to the laptop. What do I mean by important stuff? All my manuscripts, all my folders . . . although this would be a good time to look at those folders and determine how many of them need to migrate. I'd like to move the photos too--similarly, this would be a good time to make sure I haven't duplicated any of them--if I was really smart, it would be a good time to reorganize them. Right now, they're mostly chronological. I'd love to also have a section where pictures are organized by topic. But what topics? Sigh.
Frankly, this workload is why I took so long to plug in the laptop. I knew it wouldn't be a magical, plug in and ready to do everything I need it to do kind of experience. And we were busy with renovating the cottage. And I figured out how to do the online class stuff I needed to do with all the other computers available to me, which meant I wasn't desperate.
And I was scared: scared I wouldn't be able to figure it out, scared that I wouldn't be able to make it do what I wanted it to do--and more than that, scared that I'd find out I had bought the wrong machine.
Now I'm loving my new laptop, and I'm trying to forgive myself for taking so long to plug it in. I could have had this zipping Internet experience earlier. I could have been that much further along on writing projects.
But the side benefit in waiting is that I was the one who set it up, instead of what usually happens: I'm busy, and I ask my spouse to do it. Since I've done it and figured it out, maybe I won't be as afraid when I get my next new piece of technology. A smart phone, perhaps?
I'm thinking of my younger self, who would be amazed that I had so much computing power in my life that I'd put off using a laptop for a season. My younger self would be shocked at how cheap a laptop is these days--heck, I'm still shocked. My younger self, who tends to be judgmental, would castigate me for not getting more done, with these wonderful tools that I have at my disposal.
Like I said, I'm trying to forgive myself. I can't undo the past. I can only move forward into the future. Look out, 2014, here I come!
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