Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Life . . . In Emails

Just a quick follow up from my post of last Thursday. I’ve decided that it won’t hurt to cast a line and see who bites. When, and only when, the right opportunity in the right location for the right number of dollars per year comes calling, I’ll happily hop off this miserable log. Tomorrow, we say farewell to that great friend and co-worker I mentioned and wish her well as she moves on to a new chapter in her career. Hopefully, by the time 5PM rolls around, I will have shaken this unnerving feeling of being somehow left behind.


(*sigh*)


Anyway, this month I’ve been trying to get organized and today, I took some time to clean out my personal email inbox. No big deal right? WRONG! I was shocked to discover that I had right around 10,000 emails dating all the way back to 2006. To lighten the burden a bit, I ran a few queries to knock out obvious junk and that whittled the count by about half. After that, I scrolled all the way to the bottom and started to go through them individually. I'm a stickler about holding on to emails out of pure sentimentalism. For instance, I don't delete emails from certain people, no matter the content and I never delete emails noting the start up of some online account, any account.


So, after a few minutes I came to realize a most amazing story unfolding there amidst the confirmation emails and subscription blasts. It was a buried treasure of sorts, a tomb of relics spanning four years, remnants of a former version of myself. There, perfectly preserved, was the email noting my reservation for a U-Haul truck that facilitated my departure from the hellish apartments I lived in when my youngest daughter was born. That single email triggered a flood of memories and emotions that I wasn’t quite expecting! I continued to scroll, reminisce and delete for hours. Hotel reservations from my sister’s graduation in Alabama. Payment notifications made way past the due dates during times when cash was tight. Monthly eZines from VeganAction shortly after I discovered the benefits of a nonviolent diet. Periodic emails from a guy I semi-dated years ago, each bearing the same question: “So, you doin’ alright?” Cell phone photos snapped on phones I no longer own. Feeds from blogs I followed years ago but no longer read. Some of these things, I can't believe I was even involved with, including a brief stint on a few dating sites after my divorce!


It turned out to be an amazing journey into the mind of the former me! I can't help but feel the change and growth with each passing year, with each message and subscription and confirmation. Of course, I didn’t get very far so there’s still a whole inbox full waiting to be unearthed! I think I'll do the same thing with my work email account. I'm wary of deleting messages there as there could be hell to pay if something vital gets lost. I can only imagine the stories lingering there to be revisited.


What does your ancient email say about you? Or are you one the good ones who keeps that inbox nice and tidy?

7 comments:

eemusings said...

I am just the same way with emails! I have conversations with old penpals and all that kind of thing stored away. Lately I've been really slack with deleting as I go, and tried to clear out the first few pages of my inbox - the last couple of months accounted for most of the crap.

nmaha said...

I used to be meticulous about deleting mails....when gmail came about I completely stopped deleting........need to spring clean my inbox......thanks for the eye opener

Romantic Comedee said...

I love this. I love that something as simple as a fully stuffed email box may be such a look into the inner workings of how life used to be. I am sure the right opportunity will present itself to you.

tris1978ton said...

Good reminder to clean out my emails. It's so important to keep organized, even electronically.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Interesting post! I have a separate e-mail account for my students to contact me, and unfortunately I don't like to reread some of those e-mails because they make my hair turn white all over again.

Teaching Working Girl said...

i'm obsessed with 'labels' on gmail. helps me stay organized and keeps me from feeling guilty about hanging on to emails for so long since i ya know 'need them for my records' haha

Sarah Walraven said...

I seriously just did this today. 6,000-some-odd emails was just a bit for me to handle so I started from the front, worked my way to March, Googled for any "confirmations" and then deleted all. Now I have tidy folders for everything.

But my inbox does feel awfully empty...