Most people would be frustrated when facing the prospect of erasing everything on their hard drive and having to start all over again.
When this happened to me recently, I somehow found myself feeling enlightened. Of course, between iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box I have my most important files backed up online, which made the scenario somewhat less daunting; however, there was the impulsive feeling of discontent when thinking of having to go through the whole process of reconfiguring my settings just the way I want and having to download and reinstall the apps I had all over again.
You might be wondering what caused all this mayhem in the first place.
For a while I was getting some serious problems with Xcode (the program for developing Apple Watch, iPhone/iPad and Mac applications for you non-geeks out there). Xcode would crash during git commits, crash randomly when adding new files to a project, and lose references to frameworks that have been added to a project.
These are very routine tasks that I’d have to perform regularly, so it was hardly something I could ignore.
I decided to start fresh. I took time to make sure my most important files were backed up online, or to my external hard drive then erased everything.
When it was all over and I logged into my computer, it felt surprisingly refreshing. It felt refreshing to have a clean canvas in front of me.
What I was experiencing very quickly became about something much greater than simply erasing a hard drive.
Sometimes we also need a fresh start in life. The prospect of having to do so makes us think about all the things we will lose, and the things we’ve grown attached to for so long.
Caught in this mental trap, it's easy forget how much more there is ahead of us we can gain. Finding comfort in letting things go, is what distinguishes what we really need from the things we merely want.
A Necessary Step
I’ve made it a goal of mine to embrace minimalism as a means of detaching myself from distractions; a process of eliminating things that have reached the end of their shelf-life.
I now think I will make it a regular routine to do a clean wipe every 6 months to remove clutter and distractions. I think my computer will appreciate it as much as I do.
It has been a goal of mine to also perform this stocktaking of my life as well. While I have made some strides toward this so far, I intend to pursue this much more intently in the future.
"The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple" - Doris Janzen Longacre