I have a computer problem every three months. It's because I'm forced to change my password, that collection of letters and symbols you're supposed to keep in your memory and not write down anywhere.
If I don't change the password at the end of three months, my computer – my only companion for the better part of the day in my almost sepulchral office – will not communicate with me. The server down the hall keeps it quarantined and sends me the message, "You are not authorized to log on."
Some people are proficient at inventing passwords they can recall later without delay. I am not one of them. And the advice I got about choosing passwords didn't help me. Besides, I wanted a password that would boost my spirits and prepare me to face the tasks ahead.
In a moment of inspiration I chose Iwa&g&g2If for a password. It's an adaptation of the first line of William Butler Yeats's famous poem, "The Lake Isle of Inisfree": "I will arise and go [now], and go to Innesfree."
Although my choice may look odd, it has all the requirements my server demands: capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. But there was another advantage, I soon realized. I don't mechanically punch the keyboard when I use this password. Instead, the words behind that line dance in my head, and I silently recite the rest of the poem as the computer screen says, "recovering your settings" or "logging on."
I often recite favorite poems to myself when I'm hiking or sitting on a rock and admiring the landscape. I find it both calming and invigorating. Now, in my office, too, I can evoke that mood as I start my day.
How can I not feel the urge to go on when I punch in the password ?wtaItIkRF and complete the recitation with: &m2gbfIsRF, even if I have to add Robert Frost's initials to get the required 10 symbols?
Starting the day with a favorite poem, such as "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," certainly beats having another cup of coffee.