Starting at level one, for the second time.

My iPad gave up the ghost a couple of weeks back.

Kicked the bucket.
It was an iPad 2. Many years old. It had served me well. And like most of my technology, gadgets, toys and work tools , I had maintained it and looked after it well.
But all things come to an end, and finally last Sunday, I awoke made coffee, and blam, the iPad went dead as I was checking Facebook.
So we trundled off to the Apple Store in Southland, as conveniently enough, the 9.7 inch iPad Pro has just recently been released, and this 'dying of the light' in my iPad had settled the 'should I get a new iPad now or later' debate.

Now - this story is not about the new iPad. It's not even about the relatively seamless experience of setting up the new iPad. No, this post is about the one game that I could not restore from a backup and how that experience is an allegory for shifting perspective when a disaster strikes.

Ever since I got my first iPhone, I have been playing a game called Pocket Frogs. First on the iPhone 4, then transferred over to the aforementioned late, great, iPad 2.
I am absolutely addicted to pocket frogs. But not in the daily, all day long, every chance I get kind of way. I do in fact, lose interest fairly frequently in growing, taming and breeding my frogs. My addiction is more of the 'I'll just keep you around, because I can't bear to lose you' type of way.

this is a pocket-frogs screen - it's bare because I had to start again

Pocket Frogs has survived every single app cull and device cleanup I have forced on myself. Every, Single, One. No matter where I am in the game, or how much my interest has waned at any point in time. I simply cannot delete the game from my device. 


Now, Pocket Frogs, is a simple game to play, and yet, at the same time it is quite detailed,  complicated, and multi faceted. Much like life, really.


There is only one way to 'level up', and that is by gaining experience points. You can breed frogs, sell frogs, amass money, amass awards, and gain a whole lot of bells and whistles on the side. But you cannot level up without experience points. And there are only 2 ways to get consistent experience points, breed frogs, and tame frogs.
As at the demise of my iPad last week, I was playing at level 16. That's really low considering I've been breeding and selling my little digital amphibians for almost 5 years now. I did have a lot of coin in bank. I had a lot of breeding pens ( called habitats) . I had won a fair few awards and badges.  But because I had focused on the awards and money, I had not tamed any of my frogs beyond the ones I need to breed. And I had missed out on crucial experience points and thus had not leveled up in tandem with my growing frog breeding empire.
I was thus a little stuck, because leveling up opens up new frog species, and I was working on an award which required frog species' from level 17, and 18. And I was about as close to level 17 as I am to being an astro-physicist. Yes, I was that far behind.
And while I was figuring out, how I was going to get lots of experience points really quickly, it dawned on me; that there was no quick way to get experience points. So I had to catch up the old fashioned way. By actually getting the experience points one frog at a time. Much like life, you can fast forward some of the time, and occasionally you can make quick money, but in the areas that count ; like putting in the work to get the experience, there are no shortcuts. And experience always wins.
And then my iPad 2 died.
Pocket Frogs has a rather complicated way of restoring game play to a new device, and unlike a lot of other games and apps, they do not have multi device support. And since I was at one point totally paranoid about people knowing what games I was playing ( it's a long story) - I had logged out of and disabled my Game Centre. Which was the only way to 'transfer' game history to a new device. 
By the time I figured out that I had done all the wrong steps on my new and old iPad, it was too late. I had lost my old game, at level 16, entirely. All the money, all the frogs, all the amassed potions and stamps and habitats filled with foliage and happy little breeding frogs.

All gone.


Steph looking shocked and distressed with her hadn't up to her faceIt was all of 2 seconds of distress to be honest, because in a flash, I realized what an amazing gift this was really. I had a clean slate. A fresh start, with the knowledge how the game should be played. A chance to do it all over again,with the benefit of my game play experience of the last 5 years.

Yes I had lost all my coins. Yes my awards had become meaningless because they were gone, and yet, here I was, freed from the ownership of those meaningless stars and badges in a silly game about breeding non-existent species of imaginary frogs.
I could have spent hours and days trying to restore my game, but to what end? I had played badly, and the things I had accumulated were meaningless within the context of my game experience. I had not done it right, it was a flawed game. So I let it go. 
In real life, often, it may feel like you've lost something that you worked for, when in fact, your game-play was flawed by your assumptions, from the start.  Letting it go is the best thing you can do. 
It may be as small as changing how your business operates in one small area. It may be as big as changing your whole career. It may be nothing more than a change in your mindset and a resolution to see each new day as a chance to do better, and be the best you possible. You may walk away from your old life and start anew in another country. Whatever it is, take the good with the bad, accept the bad, and then let it go. 
And that is what this post is about. The lesson in life of using your disaster to catapult you into bigger and better things the second time round. Use your experiences to do your Do-Over right.
If anyone needs me, I will be breeding and taming level one frogs the right way. (!)