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04 January 2015 @ 12:07 pm
Memory Keeper  
This afternoon I started labeling the backs of the photos I had printed of our spring break trip to Texas. Brian laid like a fuzzy, sniffling lump in his robe. He asked what it is I write on the back. I said I write the year and what it is, "Texas Spring Break 2014" in this instance, the person's name if someone is in it, their age, and if relevant, a location. He thinks doing all of that is a bit obsessive-compulsive. I've always had an inexplicable urge to label and catalog memories and experiences. If you've ever had to go through the boxes of photos a deceased person leaves behind, you can see how helpful it would be to have that information on the back.
It's good for that, but I think it could also have historical and anthropological benefits. Family, historians and scientists might like to have evidence and clues concerning people, places and things of the past. I like to think it could be helpful to future people trying to unearth the past, and not because I think I'm special and important and that the future wants to know specifically about me, but I do find the chroniclers of ordinary life in all ages fascinating.
That's part of the reason I journal, label photos and keep scrapbooks. I'm building the chronicle of a life in this age, and perhaps someone will read it and be comforted by the fact that we aren't alone in our struggles - that humans are always human - and perhaps gain perspective and wisdom on existence when they can peruse a life from beginning to end and learn about aging, emotions, questions, choices and all the rest that goes into being human.
I realize I didn't start journaling until I was six, and even then, I didn't have the mental or emotional faculties to really delve into what being a child was like, but I did write, and I wrote as a child about school recesses and what the family ate on holiday dinners. Maybe nothing extremely valuable or deep, but I did it and kept on writing. It's one of the most defining things about me, and I'll never stop.