This post hearkens back to my feelings about the dishwasher over a year ago. Today I spent 6 to 7 hours of effort across 12 hours of wall-clock time trying to get my desktop PC to update its Win10 after being stuck for two years despite-or-because of some other issue causing hangs on restarts. I'll spare you the technical details of all the things I updated, fixed, removed, and jiggled, but this was quite the saga that I celebrated ending an hour ago.
I have pre-existing emotional investment and attachments to computers, much more than dishwashers. That "good with computers" self-identification was part of what led me to a career in software development. Every developer knows that programming != IT expertise, but hey there's still a correlation. So this was interesting, today, to watch myself relate to the computer and to myself in a stress-test that I could compare back to previous IT type struggles. (No such background with dishwashers.)
Conventional me definitely would have blown up with frustration, and thrown a lot of "should" thoughts and suffering thoughts around unconsciously, within the first couple of hours. I did let myself get into a little bit of a "battle" mindset - I had poked at this problem a little bit here and there for months, and I found myself wanting to care about this enough to actually dive deep and finish it. "Today is the day, can I solve it?" I wasn't fully aware of it at the beginning, but the openness of my schedule etc left me free to go after it, even if I couldn't anticipate how long it would take.
Step after step, moment after moment - poking at this black box, looking at progress bars, manually exercising all three of [reset, power press, power supply switch], researching random internet threads about error codes and command line incantations. I could sense some disappointment - and let myself feel it, without turning it into frustration by asserting that reality "should" be different. It is what it is, always.
Debugging when programming is a skillset that I picked up a long time ago, but it mostly avoided frustration by way of things being more under your control. If your code's not compiling or working, there's really no one else to blame. IT problems don't share that nature - you can scapegoat Microsoft, or device vendors, a number of different agents that made these things that are broken in strange ways. But... there didn't seem to be much point to that today. Why bother?
This was good practice, better than a lot of meditation, with some conscious thoughts about observing myself and some "this is just how my mind is, to stay outside these energy/emotion-trigger subroutines". Hmm. Having written about it now, I find it less interesting than I was expecting. Noticing that, though... I think I like that fact? That this energy pool is mostly drained - that feels like some progress and freedom, even if it's in this little petri dish of "no other people, just me and an object".
I definitely celebrated when the update finally worked. Relief at being done, grateful to still have a working computer, pride at having persisted and taken effective action... I noticed these arising and gave myself a subtle "yes!" to leaning in to and enjoying them. It was less "I am the awesome boss of computers!" and more like reaching the end of a long row or run and the "phew! That was worth it but I'm glad it's over" that arises post-exercise. The time, the opportunity cost, is real and it's valid to live a bit of grief for that (though I didn't feel the need for that this time). That's the combination of accepting the world the way it is, and accepting that I have desires and preferences that could have been more filled, and accepting that they weren't, and staying flexible enough to not blame the territory for not matching the map.