‘Updating your system…’

“Would you like to restart your PC now?” I growled at the pop-up on the screen. No, I would not… I was busy. I clicked a box that consigned the message to Hades, while asking it to remind me later. For three days, it did just that, each time picking the most inconvenient moment it could manage, and each time being banished to the Nether Regions with the click of a mouse.

The fourth time it reminded me, I knew I was going to have to give in… but not right then. I was deep in research, in thrall to words… and there was no way I was going to stop while a whole batch of probably unnecessary updates installed themselves, like it or not. I dismissed the thing and carried on writing until that queasy feeling made me glance at the clock. One a.m… Given that I rise pretty early and had to be at work by eight, I thought I should go to bed. Cleverly, or so I thought, I clicked on the option that said ‘update and shut down. The PC could install its nonsense while I slept.  Perfect.

So engrossed was I by the work I had been doing the night before, that I woke even earlier than usual next morning, bright-eyed and raring to get back to the screen. I could see to the dog and still have a couple of hours to catch up with the blogosphere and write some more. I flicked on the PC then wandered through to the kitchen to make coffee and give the dog her morning cuddles and breakfast.

It was on my return that I realised the error in my perfect plans. Had I not been so sleepy, I might have realised sooner and asked the thing to ‘update and restart’ while I slept. Instead, I was faced with that dire blue screen and the cheerful message that ‘updates are 1% installed!’ This was going to take a while…

So much for my plans.

My initial reaction was one of annoyance. I have my habits on a morning and was not happy about being forced to change my plans. I could have stayed in bed! Except, I was wide awake anyway. I could use the laptop… but the files I needed were on the PC. Annoyance gave way to frustration…neither reaction a productive use of my time.  I cuddled up with the dog, which is never a waste of time, and reviewed the situation.

While it is true that I work best early in the morning and late at night, those are not my only options. The weather was looking less than promising. How about, instead of writing, I did all the housework, such as it is, and took longer-than-usual walk with the dog instead? My furry friend agreed that this was a good plan…and one to be implemented without delay.

It was a ‘seaside morning’… one of those sunny days where clouds scud across the sky, borne by a fresh breeze that remind me of childhood holidays by the sea. The fields, in spite of the dog’s best efforts to scare the farmer away, were freshly mown. Hints of perfume rose from every garden and the fields were golden and sparkling with dew. We watched the birds go about their morning busy-ness, startled a portly and offended pheasant and watched the rabbits forage for breakfast. For an hour, we hadn’t a care in the world… which is not a bad way to start any day.

When I eventually came home from work, it would be to the knowledge that ll my time was my own, to do with as I chose… nothing that had to be done because it had already been taken care of. I could write to my heart’s content! Nice.

And there it was. There is always a lesson to be learned… or of which we can be reminded. Most of them, we already know and may be quite happy to point out to others, even when we fail to apply them to our own lives. We just get used to living one way and forget to take notice, in exactly the same way as I have grown used to my morning routine, failing to notice that it no longer the best use of my time.

I always used to make sure the housework was done before bed, staying up after the rest of the household had retired, so that it would be tidy for morning. But that was when the house held a family, all of whom needed to be able to get organised for school or work. Those days have long since gone. I would also tidy round before I left for work, so it wouldn’t have chance to get too bad before I started to cook in the evenings. Those days too are departed. Early mornings and late evenings were my only time to write. These days, I have more freedom. So why do the habits remain? Simply because I am so used to them that I had not realised they were there.

This morning’s enforced interruption of the pattern made me stop and take stock. A moment imposed and beyond my control and yet which allowed me to break the hold of a habit and see a new path. Life occasionally offers us these opportunities… and we call them disasters, because we are seeing them through the lens of the status quo, instead of a chance to take a new direction.

As far as life-lessons go, an updating computer doesn’t sound like much at all. But, habits need updating too, and  sometimes it doesn’t need much to open a window on your world.

29 thoughts on “‘Updating your system…’

  1. We get reminders the easy way … then, sometimes we get them the hard way. Garry had to finally get the message that he can’t drive like he used to because he doesn’t have the reflexes he had … and cars are made of plastic, so these days what would have been a little bump is a major mess. I have had to learn to do everything immediately — before I forget entirely — or WRITE IT DOWN. I am NOT going to remember it in the morning. To never put things in “safe places” because a safe place is the same as “gone forever.” I find that we old dogs are learning many new tricks exactly when we thought we could just relax.

    And you know? It’s not so bad, changing old habits and finding new ways to do stuff. Not so bad at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s irritating how the computer always has to update itself at the wrong moment. I understand why the main OS makers do it, but in the process they’re also breaking one of the cardinal rules of computing I learned in the 1990s – if it’s working, don’t mess with it! This week I had to update my Surface – a Microsoft hardware product – with the latest release of Windows. And the microphone stopped working. I figured it wouldn’t be a sudden hardware fault, but it took about half an hour of digging to locate the issue – it was to do with hardware permissions, which the new version had switched off. That’s half an hour I won’t get back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The way Windows does updates (which is, I have read, due to it being an integrated operating system, rather than having a kernel and modules structure like Unix, Linux, and BSD which can do piecemeal updates) is one of my pet peeves with it and why I do everything that does not require Windows (such as Turbo Tax) on Linux.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been using Linux for almost 20 years and found applications for it that do almost everything I need. I had to deal with Windows at work, and some proprietary application used there didn’t have Linux versions, but my main use for Windows now is Turbo Tax which only runs on Widows and Mac. So, I boot up the Widows box about once a month and let it run updates for a day until its tax time again.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ALL the operating system (other than Linux and probably Unix) do far too many updates and I think they cause more problems than they solve. But this isn’t really about computers, is it? It’s about finding new ways to do things. Delaying the inconvenient update (they are ALWAYS inconvenient no matter when they occur) — and learning new ways of coping.

    We can’t change our computers to stop updating. Like life, developers will keep making endless changes because that is what they are paid to do. You can’t sell more computers if everything stays pretty much the same for years on end. And you can’t move forward in life without making changes. Like it or not, change just IS. We find a way to live with it or we are permanently at odds with out environment.

    I straddle the line. Half the time I’m totally pissed off, but the rest of the time, I’m cool.


  5. My issue with updates is not that it interrupted what I was doing; I would not have felt violated if it did that and gave me a choice of what I wanted to do, how much of it, and when. But that was not the case. One night I put my computer on sleep, and was so distraught to get up in the morning and to see that Windows 10 (which is NOT my friend) had not only updated itself, but apparently it decided that it did not like any of my “apps,” which happen to be programs that I need and use every day. So it took them all and put them into a folder only it did not save the programs themselves. This turned into a disaster for me as I tend to use programs even after they are no longer being used by the majority. If they do what I need them to, it does not bother me not to have the latest version at all. Anyway, some I could no longer download again, and others I had gotten while I was in the university; they were legal, but not recent, and so now those critical programs were gone. And apparently Windows 10 is not friends with Google, as it keeps attacking Google in so many ways. I happen to like Google, and I do NOT like their Windows 10 search engine. I felt as though the system was trying to control my private life, and that did not feel right at all. I can accept change, but I don’t want to be controlled by something that isn’t even human.

    When things don’t work for me, I will take a break and go out into my garden, where my focus is on something else that I can work with in a positive way that makes a difference. And you are so right, life IS all about change. We cannot always control the things that are happening, but we CAN change the ways we think about it. As for me, I ordered another version of Windows that I liked very much – Windows 7, and although I have not installed it yet, my attitude toward Windows 10 changed knowing that I am not limited in choices.


    1. I resisted Windows 10 as long as I could, but I actually quit like it these days. Aparat from the eternal updates. Bnd that too is a useful lesson… that the very things we resist may actually turn out far better than our negative expectations.


  6. I know these things need to update, although why so often? I understood there is an option for automatic updating and I always opt for this with each new appliance. My idea of automatic and theirs seems to be a million miles apart. And why do my screen icons have to rearranged at the same time?


  7. I suppose, Sue, that this is what we call getting set in your ways. It is more difficult to do that when there are children in the house and you have to change things around to accommodate them and their plans. A change is as good as a holiday.


  8. So true Sue, we get caught up in a pattern because we’re so used to things that sometimes that updating computer can bring us to do something else which turns out to be a welcome experience. ❤


  9. I’ve found I also have to plan against “senior moments” these days. As I age I’ve found I have to keep adjusting. The weather looks beautiful there. I can see why you enjoyed the walk so much. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, Patricia. It’s funny how just seemingly overnight, I have lost so much in being able to remember things that were always there when I wanted to remember them. Even when I want to, and especially WHEN I want to now, my memory sometimes leaves me behind. It’s strange as it is mostly words or names of things or people, but at the same time, I still seem to have a photographic memory for numbers. I think today I take more pleasure in the tiny things, some of which I never noticed before. I am so thrilled by a little thing – seeing a new rose bloom on some roses I have in my garden, or seeing an herb or a vegetable I have planted showing signs of growing and creating more of the same. When I rescued violets from an abandoned mobile home in an old park where I used to live and planted them where I am now, I could imagine that they would come up and bloom in places where I know I never put them. And things that used to be so important are not now. I have quit worrying about what I don’t have or what I need and don’t have. I just make do, and ultimately, that thing tends to show up.

      There are still a lot of little things that distress me to think about – things that might have happened in childhood or in my youth, things that are still unresolved. But then I think that I have not learned whatever lessons they are there to offer me. So I don’t worry about them and when they do show up, I try to see what I need to know that I didn’t get to learn then. And if I don’t, perhaps it is because it was not really important to begin with. To a child, everything seems so much larger than life, but in reality, it is not. It is as huge as we choose to make it.

      Yes, I always carry some kind of paper or notebook or sketchbook with me because sometimes I want to sketch what I felt I had to write in days past. There is something very interesting that happens when we choose not to use words to capture something we are thinking or seeing instead of trying to write it.

      Liked by 1 person

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