Today's Open Discussion Weekend is about the kind of paper (or digital) trail YOU are leaving behind for your descendants. Several memes have found their way to me this week, so it would appear the greater Universe is trying to tell me something.
Last weekend, I began tackling the paper monster surrounding my desk and I filled four trash bags with shredded paper. It's a well known fact that I don't do paper! More accurately, I don't manage paper in the way that I would like to. I might need that for something! Digital filing? Much better at that. Could you email that to me as a pdf?
Whenever I make a purchase I always keep a receipt. I think that goes back to my childhood when I bought 16 Magazine, Datebook and Tiger Beat the day they hit the newsstands. I went from drugstore to drugstore with my magazines and always wanted them in a paper bag, with the receipt, so that the other drugstore wouldn't accuse me of shoplifting. I wanted proof I'd purchased my magazines.
Now at the end of the week, I have to unload all of those receipts for groceries, lunches, gas, etc. out of my wallet. Right through the shredder. As I picked up some "window food" at a drive-through the other night, I immediately put the receipt into the litter bag. That was when this bolt of lightning struck me and I thought about how I treasure and preserve every little piece of paper remnant left behind by my ancestors.
From my ancestors, I have receipts, notes that bills have been paid, ration coupons, school report cards, newspaper clippings that have no immediate connection to anything or anyone! It's a rather eclectic assortment of paper ephemera. No doubt, you have such a paper archive on your ancestors as well.
Last year it was announced that the Library of Congress acquired the entire Twitter archive.
This all made me wonder what kind of paper (or digital) trail are we leaving behind for our descendants? Are we setting aside the more important paper documents that would be wise to pass down? Or are some of us accumulating such a massive paper trail that, rather than sort through it, our descendants will begin shredding everything without looking through it?
In 100 years will a descendant be treasuring a receipt for a Whopper Junior and fries, while saying in astonishment, "You won't believe the horrible kind of food my great-great grandfather ate back then. It's no wonder his death certificate said he died of heart disease!"
- What is your relationship with paper?
- Are you saving or sorting not only for your immediate needs (taxes, insurance, wills) or with future generations in mind?
- If all of the paper in your home right now were placed in a time capsule and opened 100 years from now, what kind of portrait would it paint of your life?
- Are you treating your digital footprint any differently from your paper footprint?
I encourage your comments and discussion on this topic!