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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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Getting to Our Final Shutdown without a Meltdown

January 6th, 2019 by Michael Dyet

Operating system

Hmmm, if my hard drive freezes, will you point me to home?

Periodically, when I log off my computer, the menu reads Shutdown and Update. It is quite annoying – like an itch that insists on being scratched. It also delays the shutdown and slows the boot-up when I turn my computer on again.

I have no idea what these updates involve or whether they are really necessary. It is a bit like the Check Engine light on my car which may mean repairs are needed or may just be the result of a temperamental sensor. I have to trust that the update is needed and will not screw up my computer as it is being downloaded and installed.

(Yes, I have trust issues when it comes to technology. But you know that all too well if you follow this blog on a regular basis.)

It occurs to me that this optional update is rather like life itself. Every night when I lay my head on the pillow, I know that I when I wake up the world will have changed in some way. I will not necessarily be aware of what specifically changed or whether it is likely to have any discernable effect on me.

I have the option to pretend that the status quo applies and carry on accordingly. But sooner or later the ripples of change will reach me. I can be complacent, keep blinders on and risk being tripped up. Or I can be on my toes ready to react to the ripple when it arrives.

I choose, admittedly under protest, to brace for the change so it does not derail me. But this becomes progressively more difficult to do as I get older and less resilient. Change becomes an enemy with which I have to do battle.

I am looking forward to the day when I can officially retire from the work world. I will then have the luxury to thumb my nose at least some of this change and become a set-in-my-ways old fart who is not particularly concerned that the world may be passing him by.

The reality is that my internal operating system was programmed 60 years ago when the world was a lot simpler. It has untapped potential and the capacity to update itself regularly. But some days I feel like it is nearing the limits of its capability.

Eventually my computer’s operating system will be obsolete and incompatible with new software. I will have to retire it and buy a new, more powerful one with a dazzling array of new features I will never use or be able to figure out.

But I am stuck with my internal operating system for life. So I have a favour to ask. If you see me when I am 85 looking like my hard drive is frozen, point me in the direction of home and give me a push. I promise I will do the same for you if the need arises.

Together we will both make it to our final shutdown without a meltdown.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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