Time And Again

My Time Machine is full.

Well, more accurately, the external drive I use for Time Machine on my iMac at home is full. Time Machine automatically backs up your hard drive, and keeps old save states as long as it can. I can restore my computer from what it looked like yesterday, or a year ago, so long as it has space. I can even recover individual files that were at any time in between.

But the drive is now full, which means backing up new files is going to require erasing the oldest saves. I misread the date. I saw the month and day of the oldest record, Dec. 2, but misread the year. In my mind, it was from right after I got Time Machine, back in 2007. It occurred to me later that it had actually said Dec. 2, 2008, which was after I got the 500 GB drive I’m currently using as my back-up disk.

There had been a day earlier that year when I’d used Time Machine to recover a file, and I’d had the thought one day that I wished I could use it for my emotional state as well. I was at a pretty good point that summer, and thought that I wished I could back-up that happiness so that if anything happened, I could just restore to how I was doing that day. Alas, life doesn’t work that way.

But I had a similar thought yesterday when I got the warning message on my Mac — if I could restore to Dec. 2, 2007, would I want to? Or, upon realizing it was actually Dec. 2, 2008 (a very different point in my life, would I want to restore to then?

What if I had Time Machine’s ability to pick any time between then and now to restore to? What if I had the ability to reach back in time and pull out individual elements and restore them without completely reverting?

I’d made a note to write a blog post on the topic, but, ironically, someone else was kind enough to shine a different light on the matter; “ironically” because they did so using my own words.

Sometime during the night, someone came to my blog because a search they did led them to a post I wrote back in September about what I would do if I could go back in time and change something in my life. Rereading the post now, it may be one of my favorites I’ve written on here, and still stands up as my answer to the question. The point I alluded to at the end, and the answer to the Time Machine question, is that I can’t go back today and change anything. But I can make those changes today going forward.

Almost half a year later, I haven’t been completely successful in doing so. But I don’t think I’m doing half badly, either. And, you know, by and large, it seems to be serving me all right.

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