What I learned from some lost photos

On Saturday my phone told me it needed to do a system update, having done them hundreds of times before, I clicked update, thinking nothing of it.

Half an hour later, the update was all done, but when I picked my phone up, a box kept popping up every couple of seconds to tell me that ‘google play services’ had stopped.

I restarted my phone, but the problem carried on. A couple of hours later no difference, I googled and tried all the steps I could find to fix it, but nothing worked. The only other option was to reset my phone. Knowing I have back-ups enabled, again, I clicked okay thinking nothing of it.

Another half an hour passed, and my phone had been reset, all updated, everything loaded back on and thankfully the issue solved.

However… not quite everything was back. Logging into Google Photos, I saw an I had no photos after the 5th of February. Almost three weeks’ worth of photos just gone.

It’s funny, living in this age of digital photos where we can easily take hundreds of photos each day, photos of every little detail. While we may not go back to look at them often, we know they are there – all those memories kept safe for when we need to remember what we did on a certain day, or how the baby looked. Milestone photos like Oren’s 8-month photos and the weekly pictures I take of him had gone.

For a brief moment, there was a flurry of feelings – guilt at not making sure they were backed up, grief that they were gone, anger too… and then I took a breath.

Just photos.

In reality, that’s all they are. Just photos. The world is still turning. Nothing is really lost. The memories are in my head. OF course, there are a few snippets on my social media, thankfully I’d shared some on Instagram, so I can snatch a couple back at least.

And while it’s kind of sad that they are gone, just vanished into the ether, I realised there is no point feeling sad or angry or guilty. What will be, will be. Life will carry on. Those moments were just that – moments. Just snapshots of a whole life. A life that is so full of love and joy and wonder, that not even a few lost photos can diminish.

Whether it’s photos or something else we’ve lost, feeling regret means we are living in the past, trying to hold on to what was. Life is forever flowing and changing, never staying the same. Letting go can be a beautiful thing in life. Opening space for what is coming next.

Losing a few photographs taught me more than I could have expected, it was a lesson in letting go, in not feeling remorseful for what was, but instead to find joy in the good memories and open the door for new adventures.

“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

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