A while ago I suggested that any business could easily delete most of its legacy data, apart form statutory stuff, and barely notice the difference. A couple of days ago I got the chance to test that proposition.
The laptop had a major haemorrhage a few weeks ago and, although I had backed up the data, it needed to be hospitalised. I came back last week and I spent half a day sorting out all the material on the desktop to prepare to sync the two machines up again via a backup drive.
Somehow, in getting rid of duplicates on the desktop, I deleted my entire personal folder. Everything I kept there, from old Christmas letters to a play or two, half a book, some poetry, pretty well everything that i had created on a PC since 1989 I had managed to transfer from machine to machine along the way.
Then I did a total file fragment and defrag. THEN, on Sunday, I missed the Personal folder.
Some swearing, some self laceration as a total idiot etc etc. A mate with a file recovery tool tried to get them back, but its all gone short of getting some industrial recovery work done at god knows what cost.
It took about 24 hours to realise that the reason i had not noticed was that I almost never refer to that folder any more. I had probably not added anything to it for a year or more, and it was even longer since I had actually opened any of them. It had become digital baggage that I was keeping for no real purpose except, maybe, posterity.
Give. Me. A. Break.
Who I am, mostly, is scattered all over the net, what I think, or at least what I'm prepared to say is yours, and posterity's, for the taking in exchange for a quick google. Assuming anyone is in the slightest interested.
The things that matter to my family and friends (and enemies) they will remember without my assistance and even my ego is not that big that I expect to spend the latter years of my life reading over my deathless prose, hell I forget what I wrote 2 years ago, let alone 20 years.
And guess what? Its oddly liberating. Who I am now is what I am now, how I got here doesn't matter to anyone except me and the memory of that process is encoded in everything I do now. The building remains under construction, but the scaffolding is gone, big deal.