I recently lost 15 years of data due to a corrupt external hard drive.
- Three and a half degrees’ worth of research and projects. Graphic design. English. Creative Writing. Library Science.
- Fifteen years of photography portfolios and outtakes. Art. Band photos. Portraits. Personal images.
- Notes, journals, and photographs of my travels up and down the West coast, visiting countless National Parks, going abroad to England.
- Four years of photographs of my kid.
Most of my writing I moved from computer to computer and kept on smaller USB drives since the files didn’t take up much space. But the photos I backed up every month, determined to not lose an image. I didn’t want my computer to crash and leave me stranded.
On the plus side, my computer didn’t crash. My 12-year-old iMac is still alive and trucking. I got a new PC just because I couldn’t be without one, due to the nature of my work. So when I found that my drive didn’t work, I tested it on four different computers, tried two different types of software, took it to the professionals.
Nothing. All gone.
I try to feel upset about it but I can’t, really. How often did I look through those files? Not often. I plugged it in a few months ago to find a certain image and some notes, but that was it.
I made prints of most of my kid’s baby pictures, so it’s not like they’re lost. I re-downloaded the digital images from Shutterfly so I still have those. Some of my travel photos are up on Flickr; not even a fraction of all of them, but at least there’s proof.
And isn’t that all these files are? Proof that I went somewhere, saw something, did the work and earned the degree? It’s not that different than losing things in a house fire, except it’s by far the better option. A ruined hard drive compared to a ruined home. Thankfully my shelter is intact, and that’s what I focus on. The things that I lost… I can just recreate them from here. Take new photos, revitalize my portfolio, revisit the National Parks so my kid can appreciate them, too. Make new memories and stop living in the past.
It’s time to move on. Start fresh.