Control – Avoidance vs Preparation

I got bit by avoidance today. Because I was being too much of a control freak. Instead of following my routine of backing up my iPhone weekly and going ahead and upgrading to IOS 7 (because of rumors of low battery life, ugly icons and just not wanting to risk screwing anything up at such a busy time of the year), I’ve been avoiding the little reminders I set to keep me from losing a month’s worth of data at one time for… almost a month. So when my browser kept crashing, my bookmarks stopped syncing and I decided in a sleepy haze yesterday morning to go ahead and let it start updating while I was sleeping AND not go back it up before beginning ‘just in case’ (which I’ve never done in my life btw, it was sheer exhaustion motivating my sense of laissez faire). I watched it till it seemed it was safe and fell asleep.

I awoke later in the day with the dreaded black screen of incompletion with a big white apple and a teeny tiny status bar. So by avoiding stress something I was worried about, I’ve made it worse. Because now I’ve spent the evening restarting, rebooting, resetting, googling and freaking out in general because of course I knew deep down that even though my (now) updated iTunes could see the phone, see all my files, it was going to require a complete reinstall, one of my least favorite things in the tech world. Because everything in my life is very customized and constantly being updated to an almost painful extent. At this point, mostly because of iCloud, I’ve managed to recover most of my ‘stuff’ except for the last month of texts (ouch, I always forget about that one), and it did let me import my photos before beginning the reinstall (I actually am good about backing them up, it’s so quick and easy).

So, as a former girl scout, I really don’t blame anyone but myself for this mess. Yes a lot of other people had the same problem when upgrading, and the same weird side effects (like empty playlists), and I wish they would keep their updates down to just a few a year but the faster technology grows the more safety issues arise, so they figure ‘we’ll just redesign all the little icons too while we’re at it to make it look like we’ve been doing something positive’. And yes, they’re flat and ugly as predicted. And they’ve muted the happy little Apple chime, bastards.

Avoiding stress is good and bad. Some things are inevitable, like technology updates. They give programmer’s something to do and allow big companies to brag about all their ‘great new changes’ and sell more funky colored phones. Just because you don’t like it, there’s only so long you can hold back the tides of change before you find yourself suddenly gasping for air. You did see it coming, your lack of acceptance makes no difference in many situations. You actually can avoid a lot of stressful situations, like being around negative people you don’t actually have to deal with (no is one of the most freeing words in the universe), eating or drinking things you know will make you feel worse later, not volunteering for projects you know you don’t have the time to deal with (there’s that word again).

But for the rest of life, it’s best to find the balance between avoidance, preparation and acceptance. It’s easier to face your worries and fear head on and move on than spend life worrying about what might happen. Back things up you would hate to lose, open bills when they arrive and at least put them together, it’s better to realize you have something unpleasant to deal with in a few weeks in one day. Make a habit of maintenance and preparation in life in general, things in bad condition eventually collapse, rarely with good results. And try and focus less on how unfair or annoying something is and realize you can’t be in control of everything in life. Why would you want to be? OCD and logic and order aside, that a tremendous task that would be. As the book says, is this something that you’re still going to care about a month from now? A year from now? Wasting time in frustration, anger and the ‘why me’ zone just hurt you, others might sympathize, but it’s just a waste of your time and emotions, move on.

As for me, I’m doing something productive now, my laundry. Because tomorrow my official start of the Halloween season, in less than 24 hours I’ll be in an old church with live musicians and Anne Rice, for day one of a four day weekend of parties. I have better things to do than be worrying about whether my safari bookmarks are working.

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