Feb 25, 2009


by Anna Arnett

To quote Randy Pausch, in THE LAST LECTURE, page 148, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." In my eighty-four years, I've had very few real trials, but tons of experience. Indeed my experience file seems to be added to daily. Isn't it great?

For months now, my computer has acted up now and then. It's at least four years old and I guess that's to be expected. Though it's way out of waranty, it's still probably fixable. Since one of my past lessons said, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it," I waited for further developments and ignored the molasses action when it occurred. I was concerned, however, over the possibility of losing my hard drive. I tried backing up onto this tiny little thing I plugged in, but wasn't sure what I was doing. As you see, I need more experience.

A couple of days ago, my youngest son Mark came to back-up my iMac and gave me a new program that is quite fantastic. (Lots of things most of you take for granted are 'quite fantastic' to me.) It automatically backs up everything every hour in a way that's immediately accessible. Some day I expect I'll know what it's doing. It's called Mac OS X Leopard and took hours to download, but it seemed to have everything backed up on my external WD Passport. I had that warm feeling of security concerning my 'prize' documents.

After only a couple of days sans e-mail, I opened my mail icon, rather dreading, yet eager to see how much I had received. Nothing! Eventually I found the shell, and my hundred or so saved boxes, but there was absolutely nothing inside. Three or four hundred 'words of the day', family files, great ideas from 'walk the talk' and oh so many ANWA files -- all gone. I could have been devastated, but the process I've worked on took over. I reasoned that I'd read everything except for the last 32 that came Sunday and Monday morning, and I'd glanced at their titles. I could live without past e-mail, but what about the future? No e-mail is not life threatening, but what would it do to my ANWA connections?

(Drum roll) Mark to the rescue. He made an appointment with the Mac store in Chandler Mall for five this evening. I'm meeting him with my Mac, and hopefully, one way or another, the whole problem will be resolved. Mark offered to pick up the computer in an hour or so, but I told him I simply had to blog first. I knew that, at least, was still running because I read some and commented last night. Actually, I think the e-mail is all that isn't working. I'll now have a few hours to check out others.

Chalk it up to experience.

In the same segment of his book, Randy Pausch talked about the "First Penguine Award" which he gave to the team who risked failure by trying something really new that didn't work. He indicated that 'experience' so gained is oft times more valuable than continued success. It even impresses many employers. Sometimes it's the only way we learn what NOT to do. (I wonder what kind of award we could give.)

That's why disliked critiques and deflating rejection slips can be the nasty medicine that cures. As I've learned, it's not what happens that determines my happiness, but how I react to it. I suspect it's all right for me to feel disappointed or elated, but either reaction can be poisonous if I over-react. You know what I mean. I could get either morose or proud, and like poison, I can stand a little, but you know what happens with excess.


  1. That Mark is a good son to take care of you like that. I love how you view life and keep things in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, lots of things that get us all bent out of shape are unimportant and it doesn't really do us a bit of good to get bent out of shape. You have been a living example of this to me. Thanks for being you! I love you! Love, Stephanie Adair

  2. Anna you are so right. Sometimes I think the Terminator series is right and machines will take over. They certainly seem smarter than me. Hope your email gets back to work for you. There are endless stories of those who tried and failed only to succeed later in a big way. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  3. I love you, Anna! Great thoughts...and so much truth! You are a wonderful example to all of us. I love the movie, "Meet the Robinsons." I laughed right out loud when the characters cheered because someone failed. It meant he was courageous enough to try...and because he tried, he learned. Thanks for the reminder, Anna. I think I am going to try writing my blog now.

  4. Anna, I am one of the lucky ones to be in your ANWA chapter. I get to hear your wisdom often, and you are full of it . . . wisdom that is. Thank you for sharing it with us. You are truley amazing!


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