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wundayatta's avatar

If you lost the media documenting your past, how much difference would that make?

Asked by wundayatta (58635points) November 18th, 2009

In another question, we were asked about backing up our personal data. Talking about my backup system made me wonder about what backing up accomplished, functionally, in my life. I wrote this:

In a way, it’s more a peace of mind kind of thing, because I almost never go back and look at photos from the past. A few months ago, I did this collage of my kids, with a head shot of them from April of each year of their lives. It’s when the azaleas in the back are in bloom. But that’s the only use of past photos I have made in years.

I do have some past files that I looked at recently. But most of the past files of interest are my Quicken files and some stories I wrote back when. None of those stories is actually interesting to me except as a reminder of what I did.

My main concern is all the physical media I have—letters going back 30 years or more; slides going back nearly as long. Prints and negatives.

But I almost never look at them, either. So I think their presence in my life is a comfort thing. I know that if I need to, I can look back. However, if the house burned down, while I would be quite upset about the loss, I don’t think it would make a substantive difference.

So, if your abode burned down, and you lost all your media documenting your past, how much difference would it really make? Let’s stipulate that it would be a psychological blow, but really, do you use that stuff? How much? How often?

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14 Answers

erichw1504's avatar

It would be bad for me because I don’t have great memory.

nebule's avatar

I would be gutted! My journals (that I’ve been writing since I was 10) and photographs all through my life continually teach me a lot of things…and remind me of the beautiful life I’ve lived.

I would be distraught about the letters I have been writing to my son since he was born…I keep them for when he’s a lot older as a diary of our special moments together, special things I want him to connect with about the times he can’t remember, but that were part of his environment…things he learnt, things he taught me, the magic, the struggles, the happiness… a lot of which will be forgotten when I’m gone.

I’d get over my diaries of my life…but his diaries and his photos..I’m not so sure

gemiwing's avatar

I have the memory of a hamster so having that physical reminder is crucial for me.

wundayatta's avatar

@gemiwing Yes, but do you use it now? If so, how often and for what?

Foolaholic's avatar

I, like you @daloon, don’t do a whole lot with my past medias. The first thing I thought when I read your question was, “Well if I don’t have a past, does that mean I get to reinvent myself?” Not that I don’t enjoy who I am because of my history, and there are moments that I just could not part with, but I might like to try starting fresh, just to try it.

mowens's avatar

For some reason I log all of my instant messenger conversations. I move it from computer to computer, since February 2003. I have no idea why. I’d be upset if I lost it though.

Foolaholic's avatar

@mowens
How is that size-wise?

mowens's avatar

@foolaholic 2.38 gigs (includes files transferred via AIMs direct connect, but not the file transfer option) 27,636 Files, 2,408 folders

LC_Beta's avatar

I have a lot to lose. I re-read my old journals every couple of years, and browse through old photos pretty often. Just a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t remember the name of a girl who used to hang out with my group, and I looked through a diary I kept ten years ago and found her name almost immediately. If I lost all that, I would really lose a lot. I have my photos and digital media backed up and re-backed up, but someday I’d like to scan all my old letters and journals just in case they get destroyed somehow.

gemiwing's avatar

I go through my pictures about once a month. I grab a cup of coffee and set it to slideshow while I just relax. It’s like personal tv. Music I listen to every day- pretty much all of it. I do agree that some of what I’ve kept is closer to a security blanket rather than a memory lane.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

not even going to confront my second worst fear, so I choose not to answer.

janbb's avatar

I would really hate losing my photo albums of when my kids were little. I’m sure they would be the first things I would grab if the house were on fire.

YARNLADY's avatar

My son has already told me that all my stuff is going straight to the trash can, so I have been giving most of it away. I have the pictures in a box that I look at from time to time, but nothing there is worth the paper it’s printed on. It might keep somebody warm for a few minutes in their fireplace, but that’s about it.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Losing all my pictures would be devastating. I am a big fan of photos and I do look at them often.

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