Great article. I had a similar experience. I was deep into FF7 (well past Aeris) when I let a friend borrow my PS1. He called me a week later to tell me he beat FF7 and then proceeded to describe the ending over the phone (while he was watching it!). I was annoyed, until I got my stuff back and realized he had grinded my FF7 characters up into the 90s! I had a ton of fun playing with the high-level characters and was easily able to beat the game myself and see the ending.
Sadly, it wasn’t the same. So I started a new game. But I still occasionally played with the old save file (…you can probably see where this is going). When I was about 40 hours into my new save, I stopped to play a bit on the old save, and muscle memory from the recent 40 hours caused me to SAVE OVER my new game, losing all my progress. I still carry that scar.
Thus was the early days of save management, before I learned to make multiple saves. It wasn’t until that infamous FF Tactics fight that I truly learned the lesson. To this day I still haven’t legitimately beat FF7, but I did start a new playthrough this month. 2020 is the year I finally beat FF7!