Friday, January 13, 2023

Insight: An epiphany of sorts

By Ed Pierce
Managing Editor

I’m marking down Jan. 6, 2023 as a momentous day when I had an epiphany regarding personal frustration and my emotions. A light bulb came on for me that day that I’m going to try and use going forward when dealing with stressful situations.

That afternoon, my wife informed me that she had apparently purged her resume from her iMac and that she might need to create a new one if she chooses to apply for a job in the future.

Being the problem-solver that I am, I was confident that her resume wasn’t lost and could be found hiding somewhere on her computer, either in the Documents folder or possibly located in her email. She told me that in purging files from her computer, she must have also gotten rid of her resume too and if I couldn’t find it for her, it was no big deal.

She’s not as experienced on the computer as I am, and it has sometimes created a little bit of friction between us when I have tried to explain to her how to perform simple functions such as cut and paste into a document or how to bookmark a topic she might want to save to revisit in the future.

In the past, I’ve been apprehensive to look at her computer because she’s keenly aware that I get flustered when trying to help and can feel myself raising my voice and am easily irritated by computer issues.

My first step was examining her Documents folder, but to find out how to get there, I had to overlook her computer screen which contained about 40 downloaded articles and many saved photographs and other items. It was so packed with icons I had a hard time navigating there.

I was able to locate the Documents folder eventually and her resume was not there. A search of her incoming and outgoing email revealed it wasn’t there either. Nothing I attempted worked and I finally decided her resume had been purged permanently from that computer.

However, I had another idea. About five years ago when my wife started using the iMac, I had moved her old PC to the basement where it sat gathering dust. I brought it upstairs, hooked up the tower, the monitor, the mouse, and the keyboard and plugged it in. It still worked and as we sat and started scrolling through old files, I remained calm and assured her we would find it. I didn’t lose my cool or let having to search the PC upset me. I told her that if it was on the PC, I would find it for her.

Before long, I did find a copy of her resume from 2017 on the PC. I downloaded the resume file onto a thumb drive, disconnected the PC and returned it to the basement.

She told me over dinner that my demeanor and calm approach to finding the resume file made her feel much better. That evening, she sat with me at her iMac desktop, and I showed her how to create folders for some of the information on her desktop and how to organize it to locate items much quicker.

By now you may be asking where is the epiphany in this story? In short, I had a self-realization that computer problems inherently provoke feelings of frustration in me and that’s not something I want to experience.

Computers are simply nothing more than inanimate objects and tools of technology to be used to help us in our daily lives. As much as AI engineers and help desk technicians like to think of them as full of life, they are machines and human interactions are far more valuable to me.

I recognize that becoming frustrated by a machine is not worthy of an emotional response and I’d rather steer clear of situations that make me frustrated. I’ve gone back and come up with a list of things that irritate me and when those things come up again, I can recognize them and remain calm and positive.

The bottom line is we all encounter situations each day that ramp up our stress and make us uncomfortable. Whether it be sitting in a traffic jam on our way home from work, the dishwasher breaking down, the price of gasoline jumping 29 cents overnight, a politician spreading misinformation, or someone in a restaurant chewing their food with their mouth wide open, I’m going to smile and not let it bother me and realize that there are plenty of potential irritations that I encounter all the time.

Watching endless television pharmaceutical commercials for psoriasis, eczema, lowering A1C for diabetes, blood clots, and other ailments tend to make me insane, especially if the same commercial repeats three times in a row or airs eight times within a half-hour. Tailgating is dangerous and it bothers me when I wonder if the guy driving behind me is going to slow down when I’m stopped with my signal on to make a left turn in heavy approaching traffic.

I’m going to remain calm and not freak out about the little things that frustrate me. It’s a much more appealing alternative. <

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