‘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.