Thursday, February 05, 2009

Erasing my past

As I clicked the button -- "delete" -- my past erased before my eyes. For only a split-second, I had second thoughts about what I was doing, but I knew it was the only way to satiate my need to purge what I don't need and keep only what I do. I'm no pack rat by any means, but somehow deleting all this made me a bit uneasy, though only for a short while.

I was only using 10 percent of my space allotment on Gmail, but when I enabled Gmail Offline and watched as it synchronized, categorized and organized all my old, archived e-mail from back when I signed up in 2005, I realized there were thousands of old chats and messages taking up space where they need not. My inner obsessive-compulsive broke out and berated me for keeping these old files around and advised me to quickly rid myself of them. "Keep only what you need!" it urged me. I had no choice but to listen and obey.

I watched as I systematically went through and deleted each old e-mail, each chat, each message, some of which surprised me as I quickly glanced through and read and realize how much I've changed even in two years. I read through these old correspondences with a bit of guilt, feeling like I was going through someone else's account and reading into her past. I felt a twinge of melancholy and nostalgia for the past -- college life, old flames, long nights at the student newspaper with those crazy people I loved and partied with, nights spent experimenting with adulthood -- I replayed it all in my head like a movie on fast-forward. But they had to go. And go they did.

At the end of the day, I decreased the used space in my Gmail account from 10 percent to 2. I kept only those old e-mails that went back six months or so, just in case. I also kept some old e-mails from the summer of 2007, when I interned at The Standard-Times. But everything else was trashed and will never be seen again. Like the past I often pine for, I also lament losing the record of it. Maybe I shouldn't have done it? Maybe I should have just let myself deal with those thousands of messages sitting there? Maybe it was more important to save the past than delete it forever for space's sake? It's too late now. It's gone forever.


On another note, I swear I've brought the ravaging snows of Upstate New York to Eastern Massachusetts. And as long as my car stays registered in New York, the snows will continue. Of course, I know that's not true at all, but I like to think it. The weather's supposed to be frigid until tomorrow, when the temperatures will rise to the 40s for at least a week. Add to that the fact that this area has gotten about 30 more inches of snow this winter than the average (my good pal Elyse only confirmed my suspicion that was the case in her blog post yesterday), and I can't help but wonder if my migration to this region from one that averages much more snow per winter is at least a little to blame. And I find it eerie that the day I plan to finally rid myself of this registration debacle, the weather decides warm up ...

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