Can you imagine 3 weeks without your computer? Neither could I until mine refused to boot up one morning about a month ago. I knew I’d been pushing my luck as I have an almost 5 year-old Dell laptop, and it had been requiring patience and much fiddling around to get it on. Finally, even fiddling didn’t work.

After unsuccessful visits from an independent computer tech and 2 house calls from a tech Dell sent, it had to be sent back to the factory. Thankfully I have a hardware warranty.

With smart phones, tablets and assorted electronic gadgets I probably haven’t heard of, many of you may manage without a computer with little disruption to your life, but if you’re trying to run a business or want to print out documents or photos, you have probably been as frustrated as I. (For all I know, maybe you can print from a tablet.)

The first week the computer was down, I felt I was dealing with it well; it was a chance to take a look at how I’d been using my time. “It’s like a vacation,” I told everyone who heard my story. There were plenty of other things I could do  – things I’d been neglecting, such as housework.

But as time passes the periodic updates from Dell get more and more discouraging. The part to repair my computer can’t be found so I’ll get something similar in 10 working days. I have had plenty of time to see how much of my former life had been spent looking at a screen, (too much.) And where did I get the crazy idea of it being like a vacation?

Luckily I’ve been meditating for many years, and think without that practice I would be a mess. Deep breathing, exercise and reading uplifting material (all those good things we all know about) are helping, too. And what would I do without the support of my friends?.

As time drags on they have come forward with a quirky external keyboard for my tablet, an old but operating MacBook and a Chrome Book. My sons pitched in with some telephone coaching to get all that set up.

Sounds as if I have all I need to carry on most activities. But not the most important one.  These computerless weeks have deprived me of my creative expression – photography.

Of course I don’t need a computer to shoot photos. I’ve got a picture card full of new ones. What I’m missing is my photo editing software, Lightroom.

The little screen on the back of my camera gives a general idea of what’s recorded, but to really see if the photo is worth saving I need my computer screen. I love being able to see my photos spring to life with a click or two and refine them with judicious editing. Shocking as it evidently is to some, I do edit 90% of what I save.

I’d been posting 2 photos a day to Facebook, but can’t do that now, either. I’m looking for something positive to come from all this, but at this point it’s hard to find. Have you been on an enforced computer holiday? How did you survive?

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