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Empowered Narrative Submission #2

April 26, 2024

"My Life as a Computer"

By: Susan Mifsud-Larocque 

I was 30 when the personal laptop computer made its debut.  What a metaphor for life: increased productivity, unlimited mobility, systematic automation. With a growing career, two rambunctious kids, and a minute-by-minute schedule of activities, I proudly ran all the files simultaneously.  Look at me at the school concert, mentally queuing up the chores still to be completed.  Watch me emerge from sleep mode to run through the folders of birthday parties, house chores, and shopping trips to be efficiently executed the next day.  Never mind living in the moment when you can do, do, do.

I pushed my personal CPU to process more, ignoring the slowdowns; refusing any sort of maintenance check; I would power through until the inevitable systems crash.  Depression left me staring into the nothingness of a black screen.  I would remain there with no choice but to let the battery recharge; plug into the temporary power source of sleep and denial.

All those years of pushing the button and rebooting, scorning any error messages that might arise; there was no need for a system check. Look at my shiny, professional screen-saver mask. Watch me smiling and laughing while my body, mind, and spirit scream, “No more.” Never mind examining the problem when you can avoid, avoid, avoid.

Finally, my system powered up in safe mode as a last warning, forcing me to enter into recovery mode, where only the essential items were allowed.  I needed to problem-solve the core before the other applications could be launched again.  Starting with a defrag, I reformatted my priorities and reconstituted my shattered being.  I had to build from the inside out, reviewing all the files that cluttered the screen.  Corrective maintenance meant keeping only the ones that were important to me and my family, the rest moved to the trash and emptied.

I scheduled in preventative maintenance with downtime to avoid future failures and breakdowns. Mindful awareness became my interface with the world.  Look at me walking my dog, listening to the robin song and inhaling the smell of fresh-cut grass.  Watch me snuggled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a new book.  Never mind the dust bunnies under the bed when you can live, live, live.

I am now almost twice as old as I was when the laptop came on the scene.  My case is a little scuffed and scratched and the CPU is a little slower and occasionally has trouble retrieving a file.  But, I treat it well, and it keeps me connected to the world, entertained and enlightened.  What a metaphor for life:  selective focus, quiet longevity,  appreciative observation.