My husband was shocked when we did our tape backup of my TWO hard-drives. I had over 20 gigabytes of mail on my computer. To call myself a computer pack-rat would be putting it ever-so-lightly. I tend to save all of my mail. I had a spidery network of folders in my Outlook program that covered every imaginable email topic. I had friends folders set up by city. I had homeschool folders set up by subject and KONOS topics. I had personal folders galore. I had home-and-garden folders for every household topic you can think of. You name it; I had it in my Outlook personal folders!
My computer got a worm through me clicking a “sign up for Yahoo IM” that my father-in-law’s computer (also infected) sent me. I thought it was from someone I knew, but it really was just a worm inside his address book that was sending all of his contacts the same message. I usually don’t fall for those types of things. In fact, I delete almost every attachment that is sent to me. Not this time. The worm completely halted my email functions. I couldn’t send or receive email through Outlook. I had to go to my internet provider’s website to check my mail. The worm made it very difficult to save my older emails. I kept getting errors when I tried to export to a .pst file. There was just too much mail for me to manually click and drag it all into folders. It was overwhelming.
I had to come to terms that there were going to be a lot of emails lost. This is no easy task for an email pack-rat. I lost all of my husband’s emails from Iraq. I lost all of my saved KONOS emails from the past five years that were meticulously organized by character trait and subunit. I lost all of my co-op emails. I feel very blessed that the worm didn’t completely destroy my computer, however. I had so many digital photos on my PC that it quite literally would have destroyed up to five years of my life in memories if that were the case.
The point of this post is this: After going through all of my email when the clean-up was complete…. I realized that there was a CRUSHING amount of email I was amassing. It was stressing me out. I vowed that I was going to eliminate all the intricate subfolders and save things in general folders such as “Friends”, “Homeschool”, “Recipes”, etc. No more of this time-wasting habit of keeping everything I get. Yes, it is nice to be able to pull up an email from 2002 on a whim and let someone know definitively what you ate for lunch that day… but is it really necessary? Will the planet stop if you have to say, “I don’t know” once in a while? Also, saving emails in a general folder saves time when things are coming in. I can’t imagine how much time last year was wasted by me searching for what folder to put things in. Now I can let my computer do the searching for me. There is a keyword search option in Outlook – “FIND”!
I tend to be one of those people who learn things the hard way. When God wanted me to let go of material clutter, he sent a flood. There’s nothing as helpful as two feet of oily, fire-ant dotted, muddy water that smells like sewage to help you let go of things you don’t need to be hoarding. I guess this worm was my email wake-up call. After praying for God to help me simplify and be a good steward of my time… I think this is an excellent answer to prayers. I honestly feel quite a bit lighter now that I have lived through loosing a lot of email (and not for the first time, either). I’m still breathing. I’m OK. It is going to be a lot easier to store the mail I do need now.
I may be able to find a silver lining to my rain-cloud in regards to the email I’ve lost… but I’m not sure I can give up my digital photos with such a positive attitude. I have backed those up on tape and am working on a plan to slowly get all of them printed out! Maybe it is time to just go back to 35mm after all! Computer storage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
OH… and if you emailed me in the past month or so and I have not responded… you might want to re-send it! I lost all of my inbox also!
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