So last week my laptop bit the dust. It wasn’t totally unexpected–it was 7 years old(!) and had been acting funny for a while, so I knew its time was almost up. I shifted from backing up my work regularly to backing up my work obsessively, which was good because ultimately my laptop’s death did take me by surprise.
Now I am getting used to a shiny new MacBook Pro and having to relearn How to Computer because a lot has changed since 2007/8.
It’s bittersweet to say good-bye to the sturdy white laptop that I wrote my first manuscript on–in fact, all of the five I’ve written were on that Mac. It’s the end of an era. I’m starting a new project now, and it feels a little weird to be typing on a new keyboard. A new backlit keyboard which is both weird and cool.
On my old computer, a scrap of paper taped to the top right corner, right above the display, read: OMNIA QUAE CUPIO IAM HABEO. “Everything I want, I already have.” I stuck that on while I was in grad school and struggling to properly learn Latin for my final exams. I was so, so frustrated that I couldn’t just master that language and move on with my life. The antsiness ate at me. But when I read that line, and it resonated with me. In terms of all the truly important stuff–my (then boyfriend, now) husband, family, friends, health, and home–I didn’t want for anything. I’d read that line to myself, take a deep breath, and get back to work with a little less angst and a smidge of gratitude.
Eventually I finished grad school, and started writing with the goal of publication. And the OMNIA QUAE CUPIO IAM HABEO line had great meaning for me once again. There was a lot of waiting, and wondering, and wistfulness in the years that I worked to get a book deal. It was very easy to get sucked up in a black hole of want. But again, the important stuff–I had that. Including the joy and satisfaction of devoting part of my life to creativity–regardless of whether my writing ever got to bookshelves. And eventually, it did–something that still feels wondrous.
I’m scraping off that weathered piece of paper and sticking it on my new computer. The “wants” never really go away–they just change depending on what stage of the creative process you’re at. So it’s a reminder I will keep in front of me as I work and write–that, truly, everything I want I already have, and I am so grateful for it.