Clean breaks from the past are good. Bad habits are let go of, unpleasant memories left behind and an attempt is made to start anew. New places, new place of living, new job all afford this opportunities. I've made a few of these in the past year or so to varying degrees of success.
All this is fine and dandy. But it seems my laptop got the wrong signals. I meant excising bad habits, not my entire music collection, photographs and sundry other data that I may deem important a few years down the line. Efforts with partition tables, boot records and live CDs have all been pointless. My data is hosed and I've been condemned to digital hell.
Re-building a system, installing software. So much time wasted that could have been used more productively.
Moral of the Story: Always back up your data. Frequently. And frequently is not once a year.