Late last night, I decided to check my email.
I logged into Gmail, and BOOM! there’s a huge red banner at the top saying that my account was accessed from an unusual IP and to Click Here for more info.
I did so.
This brought me to a Google Security site, which showed recent IP ranges. The most recent didn’t fit, so Google’s advice was to change my password immediately.
In a panic, I did. Since I wanted my new password to be secure, I typed a completely brand new string of numbers and letters (I know some people reuse passwords, but I got out of that habit a long time ago).
All was good in the world of Gmail.
I checked my email, responded to new ones, and logged out.
As I mentioned, it was late at night, so I was winding down from the day. I decided to watch The Royal Tenenbaums and then fall asleep.
Well, after an hour or so, I was getting very sleepy, so I turned the movie off.
Out of habit, I thought I’d check my emails before I fell asleep. Who knows? I could’ve received something interesting or important at 1am…
But I couldn’t remember my new Gmail password.
I tried a couple possibilities, but they didn’t match, so I hit “Forgot My Password” which, out of habit, is what I do when I forget my password to something. But this was my 1st time ever forgetting my Gmail password.
After hitting Forgot My Password, Gmail says it’s emailed me a temporary password at ******@y****.ca
Hmpgh – that’s funny, because even though the 2nd part of that is most likely “yahoo.ca,” the only email I believe I’ve ever had at yahoo.ca is more than 6 characters.
Anyway, I go to Yahoo, and try to login with my more-than-6-characters email address.
But it’s been so long since I’ve accessed that email address directly through Yahoo (I’ve fed all my addresses through Gmail since I joined years ago), I find I don’t know my Yahoo password!!!
So I go through Yahoo’s “Forgot My Password” prompt, and it wants me to remember my date of birth (correct!), my place of birth (correct!), and my postal code AT TIME OF SIGNUP (???)
Uh oh – I’ve moved A LOT over the years.
I try a couple postal codes but all are wrong.
Trapped, I return to Google. I read further on their Security page,
and it says (I’ll paraphrase): If you no longer have access to your other email, please wait 24 hours. Then you can request to reset your password & we will ask you security questions from when you originally signed up.
Yay! I bet I can answer those security questions, but 24 hours without my email? And just as importantly, my Google Calendar? My addiction to Google Calendar is indescribable. I absolutely love having access to my life’s plans, events, work schedule, no matter where I am, as long as there’s Wi-Fi.
But that’s only convenient as long as I can access it. By being locked out for 24 hours, I could be missing something (or many things) very important today.
My visual memory has been in overdrive since last night. What did Wednesday June 16 2010 say on it? What colours were there? I was planning on a yoga class, yes… My Small Business BC class isn’t until Thursday, good…
I believe I’ve got it pieced together & I don’t think I’m dropping the ball anywhere or on anyone.
Guess we’ll wait and see.
Sometime late tonight, or more likely, early tomorrow morning, I’m going to answer my security questions correctly, and get my Google back.
But all of this poses a very serious question:
What’s with this complete dependence on technology?
I mean, losing access to my Google account felt like I had burned my house down – like I had lost everything. How was I going to communicate with people? What was I meant to do today? I’m sure I am going to miss out on something, because I don’t remember anything anymore, I just put everything on my Google Calendar and then check it every single day.
Is this healthy? A core part of myself says a definite NO. A core part of myself says I should take this event as a lesson in getting back in touch with how I feel – my sense of touch, of smell, of taste, hearing, and sight – and most importantly, how I feel in my gut.
If there is one lesson that my mom taught me that I’ll always remember, one lesson that has proved itself to be wisdom beyond words, it’s
always trust your gut, Ashley
I don’t even know where she got this advice, but something tells me it’s from a lifetime of negative experiences (most notably, having a cheating, lying husband (my dad)), and looking back and knowing that she felt it in her gut that she was being wronged. But being a kind and understanding person, my mother held on and “did the right thing,” which, in the case of her relationship with my dad, was to tough it out, for me and my brother, rather than break up the family.
Being plugged in to my computer day after day is, in some ways, wonderful. I am embracing the opportunity to share my words and my art, and to receive the words and art of both friends and strangers from around the world.
There are less strangers in the world now that I can follow, befriend, or connect with people I may never meet in person. The world even seems like a less-scary place when like-minded souls are sharing their thoughts, dreams, critiques, and wise-cracks with one another.
But my dependence on my Google world, I now admit, keeps me staring at a glowing screen when maybe I should be standing up, stretching, and going out for a walk of fresh air around my neighbourhood.
Like I’m going to do RIGHT NOW.
Because I may never meet some of my online connections, but every moment that I sit at this computer, I’m missing the opportunities to meet the plants, trees, cats, sky, rain, sidewalks, and parks that make up my surroundings.
And even when Google locks me out, I needn’t lock myself in.