Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Ultimate Backup

"Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us. -- Thomas L. Holdcroft

Having just come through the trauma of a fried computer, I couldn't help but think, what if my brain were to crash like my hard drive? Wouldn't it be nice to have a full, recent backup? Well, sure. I can picture the scene:

Me in my comfy computer chair, USB plug planted firmly in ear, waiting while data whirred from brain to external backup DVD/CD drive. I'd carefully label each CD--probably date by decades, since I'm pretty old --and file the collection in a padded CD storage case on my office shelf.

Imagine the valuable info I'd retrieve: names and dates and people. Details of every event in my life. Clear images of moments that brought joy, tears, challenge, and regret. (On second thought, let's skip the regrets. I'll delete those.)

The ultimate backup would ensure me that no matter how hazy my brain gets, no matter what the age on my driver's license says, I would always be able to access the precious parts of life that make living worthwhile.

If you could make a backup of your brain, what would you save first?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Best Response

Anderson Cooper is a stand-out journalist. I admire his tenacity, and his hunger for story. He seeks out truth and doesn't rest until he finds the bottom line. I ran across a feature on his blog today, which describes lessons he learned while volunteering in impoverished West Africa. Midway through the article, this jumped out at me:
When confronted with hardship, gratitude is the best response. I travel a lot these days, and sometimes things go wrong. When I leave my iPod in the back of a Peruvian taxi (last week) or nearly get deported from Saudi Arabia (this week), I try to think back to the challenges faced by people who live on less than $1 a day. It’s all a matter of perspective — something I acquired many times over during those years in West Africa.
It impressed me even more because I shared a recent conversation about how spoiled most of us are, yet how often we complain. Stand in any line long enough and you'll hear the complaining begin. Or, ask ten people how they're doing and watch how many mention their gripes first. I needed to read his post today, because Cooper describes West Africa in a way that makes me ashamed for the times I've looked at my glass half empty instead of half full.:

Travel writers struggle to describe the region without the clich├ęd contrasts," writes Anderson. "Hope, despair, joy, sorrow. That’s what you get when you combine a poverty-stricken area with some of the world’s happiest people.
Read his entire post here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.

~Dwight D. Eisenhower