What Do You Do With 22,000 Old E Mails?

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A week ago, The Hottness and I celebrated our six year anniversary. We went out for sushi and had a real date for the first time in a long time. Too long, in fact.

Over dinner, we agreed not to talk business or anything stressful, so we tried to remember all the details of our wedding day. And, this was fun! Then, we tried remembering what we’ve done for our previous anniversaries. The first year, I was speaking at Columbia University’s School of Nursing in NYC. Of course, we drug this 90 min. long speech into a three day trip! In 2011, we were with my side of the family in Branson for a family vacation on our actual anniversary. Later that summer, we took a little trip to Cancun, where we went on our honeymoon. Last year, we had a really nice dinner at an Italian restaurant here in Orlando where we had one of our first dates.

By these things, you’d probably think we’re kinda fancy schmancy. Incorrect. For year three or four, we went to a privately owned Florida fish shack. And, I do mean shack. Open air on a lake full of gators out in the country. This was no mansion or bed and breakfast setting, either. But, no matter what we do, it’s usually fun simply because we enjoy being together. So, it makes me sad that there are a couple years in there I don’t remember what we did for our anniversary. Over dinner, I told The Hottness I was going to begin keeping track. I don’t want to get to our 25 year anniversary and no be able to remember what we did on our special anniversaries.

Okay, switch gears. A few weeks ago, I had a computer snafu that led to some major technological overhauls. And, in the process, every E mail sent or received from 2009 until now came flooding back in my in box. Yes, all of them. All 22,000 of them.

Instead of just deleting all of them in one fell swoop, I decided to make it a little adventure. For every person I’ve made a business contact with over the last five years, it gives me the opportunity to reach out and say HI. It gives me the chance to go back through some of the sweet E mails the Hottness and I have sent each other. I get to look through communications with old friends, family, airline receipts from trips, stuff I’ve purchased on iTunes and Amazon, it’s really like a walk down memory lane!

With a task like deleting 22K messages, I could grit my teeth and get angry, or I could make a game of it and remember things I’ve forgotten. I’ve chosen to do the latter.

I don’t believe in documenting life so much that you forget to live life. Like, I don’t think it’s sensible to take 20 pictures of your daily activities, even if they are really, really cool. I do, however, hope you’ll take some notes about what the big events are in your life. Remember them with fondness, even the ones you probably wanted to forget at the time. Don’t risk what I almost did; forgetting those sweet and special times just because there’s no evidence they happened.

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