Factory Reset

I’m angry at myself right now, truly.

I’ve been toggling between shock and disbelief, but somehow, my phone factory reset itself, and I failed to back up all of my Europe pictures. I’ve tried everything and I’ve asked everyone who could logically help, and, nothing.

This is one of the only full-size pictures I have left of my time in Scotland.


It’s gorgeous, right? The perspective! The framing! The color… this is not filtered, people! I love this photo. I’m proud of this photo. I fell in love with SO many of the pictures that I obsessively took during this trip. And now, they’re “in the wind” according to my good friends at Verizon. I only have this one because I managed to send it to a friend last month before my phone self-destructed.

I’m heartbroken.

That’s as far as I got when I started this post on Tuesday. Now that a little time has passed, I can see that I’ve moved on a bit.

I was heartbroken over the loss of those photos. I’ve cried about this and I’ve said things like HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN and HOW DID I FAIL TO BACK THEM UP?! I’ve carefully described photos to Bret that I remember taking and miss desperately:

  • me drinking tea outside a cafe in Wales at tea time,
  • an artsy perspective of Hadrian’s Wall,
  • our amazing tour guide in Edinburgh,
  • a photo of me standing in the bathroom where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books. (…For context, I was photographing myself standing in the bathroom because it’s full of signatures and quotes from fans.)

I was heartbroken, but now, I’m feeling better.

Partly because that Harry Potter bathroom photo has been recovered, thankfully.

HP Bathroom

I took, maybe, 10 photos of this bathroom alone. By some amazing stroke of luck, I’d sent one to my friend while I was still in Scotland. I couldn’t remember if I had actually sent one to her, but I didn’t hesitate to text her at 11:30PM during my meltdown to ask. And when she replied immediately by sending this to me, I cried tears of happiness. (Thanks, Tiffany!!!) It’s only one photo, and I’m pretty sure it’s not the best one I took in there, but now I’ll treasure it forever. TREASURE!

This week has been tough. It’s been a bitter realization and slow process of acceptance. But I’ve taken some good lessons from the whole experience:

  1. Memories over photos. If I add up all the time I spent snapping photos during my time in the UK, only to now not have them… I missed some moments. I didn’t fully absorb the experience while I was behind the camera. I don’t need 300 photos from one week of my life.
  2. Prioritize your treasures. If these photos truly mattered so much to me, I should have saved them or emailed them to myself or blogged about them earlier. They were stuck on my phone for months – months – before this happened.
  3. Be grateful. I have a lot to be grateful for. I have VIDEOS and AUDIO files and at least 10 photos I’d posted to Instagram. And Bret has photos, too. It’s sad, what happened. It’s okay to feel sad. But I should focus on what I do have. As always, I have a lot to be grateful for.

And Bret keeps reminding me that pictures are things. He asks me, what if our house had caught fire? What if you lost your childhood journals? What if something happened to Velveeta? And he’s right. This is a small loss in the big scheme of things. It could be much worse. I’ll live.

I have all my memories. And I’m still going to blog about our days in the UK. There won’t be as many original photos as I’d hoped, but it’s 2016. I was sad that I only have one photo of Edinburgh castle, but then I remembered, all I have to do is google Edinburgh castle if I want to see more pictures of it. It is not my job to photograph Edinburgh castle. That’s not why I went there. I got to walk there; breathe there. I got to exist there for a little while and I need to be content with that. I am content with that.

Life goes on. Hopefully, we’ll be back in the UK again sometime. And I promise you, I won’t spend as much time taking pictures next time.

2 thoughts on “Factory Reset

  1. Hi Nicole, I’m so glad to reconnect with you and read your blog. I was telling Bret how colourful (with a ‘u’), creative, and real your stories are. Losing your pictures resonates with me for a few reasons (I might need a blog of my own). When I was a toddler, my family lost all of our belongings, pictures included, and I think that has made it hard for me to let go of capturing memories sometimes. Another might be, that I love, love, love photography as do you. Also, I have also lost pictures (and papers and countless tangible items). It’s nice that you were able to recover a few treasured pictures as keepsakes, and with your photographic memory, you’ll keep those images forever!

    • It is so wonderful to hear from you, Hummus! I miss you! I’m still pretty upset over some of the lost pictures, but I’m going to pull together what I have and be grateful. And I would love to read your blog if you start one!

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