Christmas Letters – H

In this next post in my Christmas Letters series, I approach one of the worst events for me personally in 2010.

H is for Hard Drive

I wrote about this once or twice already but this was a very traumatic event with long-ranging consequences.

You never know how much you depend on things until they’re gone.

For the past ten years or so, I have been self employed.┬áBeing one of those techy-weirdo-geeky kind of people who really wishes he’d heard of pocket protectors earlier in life, I keep ALL of my records on my laptop.


All my accounts, copies of letters, emails (both sent and received), photo’s, video’s – EVERYTHING!

Of course, I’m a wise techy-weirdo-geeky kind of guy and I back up all of that lovely data on a regular basis so when, on a surprisingly warm day in October, my hard disk drive decided to die suddenly and without permission, I simply restored all of my data from my latest backup.

Except I’m obviously NOT a wise person because when I checked when I had last backed up, I found it had been over a year.


In one fell swoop, I had lost:

  • Year end accounting for my business, personal and church accounts.
  • Tax returns and many tax related records
  • All emails and other correspondence for the last 12 months
  • All personal, business and church accounting records for the year to date
  • All of the photo’s I had taken this year, including photo’s from two vacations, school graduations, birthdays and other exciting events
  • All files for client work I had done and was in the process of doing.

I’m still discovering today exactly how much I lost.

I sent the drive away for repair and thankfully OnTrack were able to salvage some of the most important data, specifically the accounts but I’m estimating that I lost between 60% and 70% of everything I’d done this year.

It has really got me to thinking about exactly how much we rely on things without even realizing it.

If I went out and came back to discover that my house had burned down then sure, I’d have to find lodging and food and clothes and that might not be easy at first, but what would have the biggest impact on my is the information I’d have lost. It would all be gone. All of it. Every last little bit.

My business would be crippled, I wouldn’t know what bills I had paid and hadn’t paid, I’d have virtually no contact details for any clients, friends or even family – it would be incredibly difficult for me.

That of course got me thinking about other aspects of life. Sure, all those things are just… things. I might have to declare bankruptcy and have some difficult conversations with the IRS over the next few years, but in the end, it would all just be stuff.

But what if it had not been a hard drive that had died that day but instead it had been my wife?

However much I depend on my laptop and ‘need’ all of the data on it, that doesn’t come CLOSE to how much I need my wife, how much I depend on her, how important she is to me.

My cousin recently lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly and my thoughts keep wandering to her and wondering how she is managing to go on.

It makes me very thankful for my wife and for the fact that she married me and has put up with me all of these years.

Losing my hard drive was a difficult event but, compared to how bad events could have been, it was small potatoes.

It’s funny how something like that can make me realize how blessed I am and how good I really do have it!

Thanks for reading today’s letter. Tommorow, R is for…