Monday, May 8, 2017

Poof! They're Gone... and I Feel Free

For the last couple of days, I had been slowly going through a number of bookmarks I've accumulated over the last couple of months. While I'm in school, I tend to bookmark all the articles from news sites and blogs that are delivered to my (email) inbox so that I can read them over the weekend or whenever I have free time. Sometimes I bookmark too many things that I want to read. Sometimes I really enjoy an article and want to save it for future reference so I keep them saved in a separate folder. I also bookmark things that I know I will later need, for school or work. I had things since about 2008-2009 marked... and, last night, they all disappeared. Just like that, poof! They're gone.

I didn't panic, at first. It had happened before and after a reinstall, things were back to normal. Not this time. I reinstalled and uninstalled Google Chrome a couple of times. I signed in (which I don't normally like doing; I try not to have too many things connected to my Google account), hoping that it would sync. I looked up solutions and tried everything I could find. I tried to restore from an earlier date (which brought its own problems... which many people have had with Windows 10). I looked up my saved data online (I use online backup storage). Nada. It was all gone. Cue the panic.

"What am I going to do?!" I asked myself in frustration. "I had links saved for the novel... for work... for the blog..." From 9:30 p.m. until nearly 1 a.m. last night and again from 4:45 a.m. through 10 a.m. this morning, I tried to come up with a solution. The only difference between last night and this morning was that I saw the disappearance of the bookmarks as a blessing... and perhaps a sign from St. Joseph.

"Why did you mention St. Joseph?" you may be wondering. Simple, this happened on the last day of my 30-day novena to St. Joseph in which the main petition was for clarity on my vocations (career and otherwise) and health. I had a ton of bookmarks for all three areas of my life; bookmarks that I was hoping to get to this week as I'm researching some things. Suddenly, I had no references to my ideas. I also didn't have the stress of having to go through months/years of saved links. I feel liberated and physically light. No, I have to start from zero...  just like I'm doing with my career in general.

It may be that my malfunctioning laptop (which I bought at the start of the program and started going haywire during finals week right before I dropped it), the disappearance of bookmarks (making me start from zero), having to leave the degree unfinished, and the focus on my health (with my first hematology appointment) all within the same week is pure coincidence. Either way, coincidence or not, it made one thing clear: I really am starting from zero in many areas of my life.

As I discussed in the previous blog post, I have no concrete (long term) plans right now. I have an idea of what I'm going to do in the near future -- working on a memoir, on my own third novel, and nurse myself back to health -- but I'm basically starting over with everything else. I left one degree. I picked up my chosen career post graduation (from my first BA) as I've felt called to do. I'm starting to discern becoming a lay Dominican (or Oblate of St. Benedict). Hello, clean slate. No bookmarks on things I had hoped would help me. No financial stability that an in-demand career path would've given me. No going back to any of the previous ideas I had (via saved articles). 

As I tried to add bookmarks to my reinstalled browser, I realized just how many links I had saved up but, ultimately, didn't use. I realized that while it meant that I would have to start a lot of my research over, the fact that I have to do it over again seems more like a fun adventure. Furthermore, losing the bookmarks (after the initial period of panic) made me realize how much it didn't matter to me. During last year's St. Andrew Christmas novena, I asked for the gift of being detached from worldly things that would not benefit my soul and this loss made me realize that I'm seeing the fruits of that novena, months after I made the petition.

Cue the moment of realization that this is just the latest in a string of instances in which I no longer care about certain things I once valued as important. Social media? I don't use it as much. Thinking about what people think of what I blog about? Not high on my list of worries. Fearing about what people would think about yet another (MA being the other) degree I abandoned, though due to circumstances beyond my control? Doesn't register. 

I feel free. I feel free from the pressures of things I once considered important but have come to see that they truly weren't. I feel free to pursue God's will for me without worries (though I've been facing some problems in my personal life due to it). I feel free to focus on what's important and let everything else disappear into the background. It's been a blessing.

I'm not going to lie, I'm glad I'm done with the St. Joseph novena because everything that can go wrong, went wrong during those last 30 days. At the same time, it was also a blessing. Through every hiccup, I've felt getting closer to where God wants me. I had a really, really hard week last week (to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if I was under back-to-back spiritual attacks) but now I can sit here, look back, and see that it was worth it. It sure didn't feel that way last week but, in retrospect, it was.

That's where I'm at right now. Well, mostly. I have other things for another post. ;) 

Oh! And if you're wondering which are the websites I ended up bookmarking again (that I use almost every day):
- Hotmail
- Gmail
- This blog
- Los Angeles Public Library (for eMedia)
- Kindle Manager (for eBooks borrowed from the library)
- Spoken Bride (no comment)

As I said, this laptop (my only laptop/PC) has been malfunctioning for the past week so we'll see how often I can blog until I get a new one. I'm actually trying to use it until it kicks the virtual bucket because I'm trying to make my savings last for as long as possible while I look for a job (that pays). Yes, I'm constantly saving/backing up my files online so that I don't lose anything important. Mama didn't raise no fool. ;)

And that's it for now. I got very little sleep last night 3 hours or so and an hour and a half-long nap this afternoon didn't help much so I may just go take another nap or do something to help keep me from falling asleep until it's time for bed. Maybe I'll have a dance party. Wait, can you have a dance party to Bud Powell, George Gershwin, and Charlie Parker...? (side note: totally grooving to Bud Powell's version of "A Night in Tunisia" as I type this.)

I hope y'all are having a lovely start of the week!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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