My server – the wizard behind the curtain of this corner of the Internet, what I anticipate to look like very much like an industrial Rube Goldberg machine with switchboards and buttons that glow and dim, I don’t know, I’m likely wrong here – has been down for three days. Last week, it was up and running, and this week, like a stressed out mother raising her hands in the air, it simply retreated to the bedroom where it fell ill for the better part of the weekend. It has been oddly spiritual, the silence.

It was not oddly spiritual at first. It was frustrating, and I felt powerless, and I relegated myself to heavy sighs and hitting reboot, reboot, reboot until the support ticket team simply asked that I allow them to take over, and please, ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?

Please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot was the spiritual part. The rest was a smattering of salt and vinegar chip snack breaks and coming to terms with my own impatience, and buckets of fretting when I realized that a decade of my words had simply vanished on the back-end. (They’re back now, in full, I hear, although a small part of me believes that some words from my 20’s were meant to disappear forever, so perhaps this is a veiled blessing?)

Still, it was a lot of waiting, and more time on the computer than I’d like, and a lot of messages – Your site is down! – and please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?

And so, I waited without answers and I distracted my brain and I extended deadlines and I said, quietly, under my breath, my two favorite phrases in heavy rotation this year: “It is what it is,” and “God, can you make me kinder?”

It’s just odd, how little we have control over, and how much we have control over, and how the much often defines the little when we allow it.

I do not know how to fix a server outage other than hitting reboot-reboot-reboot, a last ditch effort, a flair signal. But I do know how to be kind, and patient, and I do know that I can fight through the surprises of my daily life with clenched fists or open hands, one ready to fight – another to forgive.

I do know that last week, when the post office had lost a package and I drove to three separate locations to retrieve it, I wasted an hour on the road and twenty minutes feeling angry.

Twenty minutes is a long time to feel angry over a missing cardboard box.
Three days is a long time to feel angry over a downed server.

I read somewhere that the secret to life – as if we are not life itself, as if we are all missing out on some cosmic secret that the popular girls at lunch are hiding from us, as if we do not have the very essence of life in our own beating hearts – is not what you know, but what you surrender.

Please ma’am, can you stop hitting reboot?

It just seems to me that we’re all working so hard, and we’re all striving to be better than great, to be better than good, and we’re all miserably failing, or crippled with anxiety, and so we retreat to the bedroom where we fall ill for the better part of the weekend, down server style.

And we clench our fists and brace ourselves – reboot, reboot, reboot – and we power through and we fret into buckets and we waste twenty minutes, three days, a lifetime feeling angry.

This morning, when the site came back, we’d found the collective source: a hacker, and a memory shortage, and would I like an upgrade, would I like to move up to a different tier?

It seems to me an upgrade from above is a nice trade-off for a lifetime of reboots from below. Yes, I said, then. Yes, and thank you.

  • Love your writing style more and more…and really needed to read the thoughts you shared today. Thanks.

  • Hi Erin, I rarely do this. I rarely comment. But I had to today because I wanted to let you know that I find your work so vulnerable, and honest, and inspiring. Keep doing what you do and keep sharing it with the world because it is making a difference. xx

    • oh goodness, stephanie – thank you for this kind email! i’m so honored to have you here. :)

  • My favorite, life is not what you know, but what you surrender. I’ve been the one bottled up with stress and anxiety, the past two years living intentionally towards self growth, surrendering is the release. It’s amazing that the exact moment we choose to surrender to whatever it is, in our control or not, that is causing pain, anger, stress, anxiety, there’s an immediate lightness that takes over. Thanks for sharing this perspective on something. like many others, that causes frustrations daily. Sometimes it’s stepping out of the trenches to be able to look down. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ohhhh I hear ya, Eric! I have, many times, struggled with pain, anger, stress, anxiety. Reboot, reboot, reboot – surrender, surrender, surrender. ;) Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Reboot,reboot, reboot. I’ve been in that mode for longer than I even want to admit at this point. Actually, remember when the way to fix your computer was to kick the tower? Im slowly working my way out of it, but its refreshing to know that somewhere out there someone else is experiencing it and knows how to come out on the other side and still have the grace to write about it eloquently. Lovely post!

  • This is the perfect situation when trying to learn how to refocus on the gist of life… Too often we forget and get carried away, losing precious energy and kindness. Next time my computer crashes, I’ll think about your post to take some healthy distance!

  • This is so true and beatifully written. And even with the upgrade, I would advise you to make a beautiful print of your blog, via blirb or something like that. Because it really would be ashame if your words and pictures would get lost…

Comments are closed.