Vulnerable and scared . . . and okay.

My life as I knew it ended Thursday, March 24th, about 1pm.

At that moment, by mistake (and how it happened is irrelevant now), I gave total access to my computer to a hacker from another country. I have spent the best part of three days doing all the triage I could think of, with professionals, to protect/ re-protect my life savings, my identity, my secrets, my private life.

For now, at this moment, no money seems to have been taken, but the hacker had access to enough things that my changing all my passwords now feels a lot like installing twenty padlocks after the horse has left the barn.

This is not the uplifting blog post I wanted to be adding after a three week break. I’ve been hard at work, many hours each day, on what I lovingly call “Book No. 2”, and that’s why I’ve been gone from this blog for a while. I was going to share with you the current draft of the new book’s preface this week. That was my plan, and I will do so soon I hope. But for now, I’m trying to string together a few minutes here and there of NOT obsessing between “What else do I need to be doing/changing/protecting?” and “You stupid idiot, this is your own damned fault!”

The latter is not useful at all. The former is barely useful.

To you helpful folks out there, yes, I cancelled my credits cards, closed my bank account, and alerted my bank and savings companies immediately, by phone. Luckily both are based locally, so I walked over there Friday morning and they were all wonderful. I called a reliable computer tech support company immediately and got my computer cleaned and malware investigated (there was none).

The result? There’s a chance my meager life savings is safe. My personal privacy is destroyed, and although I miss it, I have a whole new level of empathy for the thousands of people who have been in my shoes through no fault of their own. I learned that being smart, and being careful, very careful, will not necessarily protect you from these sorts of things. But I also learned something even bigger.

I learned that the customer service people at my bank, my credit card company, and my investment company are brilliant in their people skills as well as their technical skills.

Every person who helped me could have successfully worked for a suicide hotline. Calming, but never patronizing. Kind, so kind. They were knowledgeable, patient, calm, skilled, and… inspiring. Yes, inspiring.

And I caught myself revisiting, effortlessly, that brilliant, tried-and-true Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Truth be told, I haven’t had much anxiety in a very long time. I’ve had challenges and concerns, but not the kind that are flooded with adrenaline as well. Not until three days ago, that is. I saw that the Serenity Prayer really does help you to sort out those two things:

“Is there something I can change/do right now, or

… for now, do I have to simply breathe and trust that the professionals who helped me knew what they were doing?”

I’m feeling okay during daylight hours, less well at night, when I roll over, wake up a little, peaceful and comfortable until I Remember What Happened, then I’m again flooded with Thought: panic, depression, fear. And back to the Serenity Prayer.

So the moral of the story (which is what the final paragraph is always for) is:

1- When you find yourself in the middle of a boat-load of lemons, remember there are professional lemonade chefs everywhere. We are never all in deep doodoo on the same day. We take turns.

2- Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Some mistakes come with a huge price tag, some with a little price tag. Not every big price tag means it was a big mistake. A little mistake can be pretty devastating. It happens.

3- As with art, with life: Yelling Never Helps. (Can you tell I’m writing this blog post for me?)

4- In due time, I will find out the long-term consequences. For now, if I have done everything I can, I have to let it go, not assuming that no chips will fall, but that the chips will fall where they may, and I will deal with that when the time comes. If I’ve learned anything, it is that rehearsing disasters does not prevent them, it just wears down your immune system and makes you no fun to be around. I have witnessed this from both sides of the whining, and it’s not pretty.

So again, again, forgiveness is the lesson. I forgive myself for having made a mistake. I forgive the hacker for thinking what he was doing was a good idea. I am asking God to show me the entrance ramp to that broad highway I was cruising down the last few weeks, writing this book that, so far, has made me laugh out loud as well as reach for a tissue or two.

Each day gets a little better.

No matter what, don’t let life steal your joy, for life is exactly where you’ll pick up your next batch.

About Bobbie Herron

I live surrounded by watercolor brushes and paints, fountain pens, sketchbooks, and journals- often wanting more than anything to write and paint at the same time. If you like what you're reading, feel free to share it with others. If you see something that needs correction, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!
This entry was posted in Book #2, Musings on Life, My Story, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Vulnerable and scared . . . and okay.

  1. Jean Haley says:

    Words of wisdom, Bobbie! Lots of applications. Thank you!


  2. Oh Bobbie, I am so sorry you are having to experience this! It’s become all too common. Thank you for the inspiring words, once again 🙂 Sending supportive hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mbutler1806fffa12a2 says:

    Dearest Bobbie, I’m sending my most supportive thoughts and wishes to you! And blessings to those dear folk at the bank who worked to get you protected again. ❤💛💚💙💜 from Maggie

    On Sun, Mar 27, 2022 at 6:01 AM Aloft with Inspiration wrote:

    > Bobbie Herron posted: ” My life as I knew it ended Thursday, March 24th, > about 1pm. At that moment, by mistake (and how it happened is irrelevant > now), I gave total access to my computer to a hacker from another country. > I have spent the best part of three days doing all the” >

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, Bobbie!

    I’m so sorry this happened—AND, I know you will be okay. Because you already are okay.

    It’s a good thing our okayness is always intact, no matter what happens on the outside of us!

    Loving you, Helen

    On Sun, Mar 27, 2022 at 7:01 AM Aloft with Inspiration wrote:

    > Bobbie Herron posted: ” My life as I knew it ended Thursday, March 24th, > about 1pm. At that moment, by mistake (and how it happened is irrelevant > now), I gave total access to my computer to a hacker from another country. > I have spent the best part of three days doing all the” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank Helen– I almost contacted you yesterday for a “tune-up” of reassurance, but realized it wasn’t at all necessary. Yes, we are SO lucky to have been able to peek behind the curtain. 🙂


  5. I’m so sorry this happened to you, but thanks for sharing your experience, maybe some of us will take some extra precautions and avoid it happening to us, hopefully!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Tiffany. That’s the big challenge right? To be careful, and responsible, while still loving life and people. I was cyber-safe for decades, and feel like I am again, moving forward with joy.


  6. Peter hobson says:

    Hello bobbie. Here’s a virtual hug before I rant and then finish with some joy. At the height of our world pandemic I very naively assumed that thieves might take some time off, a well earnt vacation where they can rest from the anguish of their vile intention and spend some quality time with their loved ones. An opportunity for them to return some money back into the world’s struggling economies. This magnanimous act would help invigorate local businesses and could support their employees from which the thief can once again steal. It’s a win win situation. Except for the fact that the system creates victims, who suffer in all manner of ways.
    It’s 7am as I write. The bedroom slowly fills with the sounds of “ooos” and “aaah’s” and were not making love, it’s just a vocal response to arthritic joints. Our one-year-old grandaughter, the culmination of countless generations of love, lies with her head on my shoulder and both very warm feet on the nape of my wife’s neck, and then I realize, maybe we are making love. Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete, thanks so much– when are you going to have a blog of your own? I love how your mind works. Yes, those oohs and ahhs are very familiar, funny! As again, yes, love-making has many forms, including using a grandchild as a jumper cable. 🙂


  7. Oh Bobbie so sorry to read here what has happened , I hope in the meanwhile you’re OK and your “online version” of you is OK too , to be save on the ‘net’ feels more and more hilarious and complicated to keep it save because there is and I speak for myself a lot I am even not aware of so that makes me anxious for all the things I do on my pc , glad you had good and helpfull people to reach out , I hope we can “meet up” somewhere soon , I wish you from the bottom of my heart all the best my dear friend xx

    Liked by 1 person

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