Things that last

Some thoughts about what lasts, and what doesn’t.

A row of about 25 journals

This is the first blog post I’m writing on v4, with a fresh look thanks to the TwentyTwenty default WordPress theme and a few lines of CSS written in the Customizer. I don’t even have a local or staging version of this site anymore.

To this, Lara of 2018 would say….“What!? Your code is not version controlled!? CSS is a programming language like any other – it should be version controlled. And what are you planning to do, just work…on the production site?!” In contrast, 2020, mid-pandemic Lara is like, “Don’t care. I want to write a blog post, not deal with local dev. And it’s like 20 lines of CSS, it’ll be fine.”

As I clicked around through my freshly default-themed, not at all fussy, blog, I realized that I’m getting close to 10 years of content (I think I would have 10 years of content, but around 2014 I deleted several blog posts from college that I found mortifying at the time).

The content on my blog, however, is nothing compared to what I have in journals and sketchbooks:

A row of about 25 journals

The earliest journal entry I’ve been able to find is dated November 22, 1999, which would be age 10. I started consistently keeping a journal in 2005, age 16, through to the present (2020, age 31). The majority of my journal writing from 16 to around 28 happened when I was either depressed, or on the flip side, overly enthusiastic about a project (this was common ages 18-22), and I’ve always casually kept a sketchbook. For the past about three years, my writing has been daily. Usually it is very mundane and without fail, I open my journal and think “what the heck do I have to write about…,” but as long as I start, I eventually figure it out.

It occurred to me recently that I have extremely few photos from my early adult life. I mean, I have about 8,000 photos on my phone right now, and I guess there are photos littered all over social media, but so few of them are photos I actually care about. First of all, there are way too many of them, and secondly, so few of them include people. I would like at least some photos of people.

I thought about artwork I’ve done over the years, specifically in college. I did printmaking in early college, and at my parents’ house, I have a folio full of those prints. I’m sure some are missing, but there are a lot there. Later in college, I started doing most of my work digitally. I have print outs of a few things I drew on a tablet in Adobe Illustrator, but only a few….many have are on a hard drive that uses a Firewire connection, and I no longer have a computer with a Firewire connection and it is unlikely I will ever put energy into obtaining one.

I also did some super weird stop motion animations around that time that I would love to see right now. I used to have them on Youtube, but when I started making video tutorials, I deleted them because they were…well…weird. Those video files are also on the hard drive that requires a Firewire.

I don’t really have a “hot take” here about what lasts and what doesn’t last. The way we keep track of personal artifacts surely varies from person to person. I guess I haven’t done a great job of keeping track of digital artifacts over the years – there are a pockets here are there and whatever’s still on social media, but a lot has been lost.

What lasts, for me, are physical artifacts, and whatever I post on this blog or the two archaic websites I will not mention. Sure, I have a ton of content on social media, but for whatever reason, none of it seems important to me. I definitely don’t want to look at my Twitter or Facebook posts from 5 or 10 years ago, but I definitely do want to read my journal entries and blog posts (kicking myself for deleting them).

Maybe it’s because when I post on social media, it’s for others, intended to make me “seem” a certain way or to promote a certain message. Even though you, reader, are reading my blog, I’m not writing for you, and that makes a big difference in what I write. I don’t have to know who you are, nor do I need some kind of validation from you in the form of likes or re-tweets.

I think I’m actually done with social media this time. I tried to tweet something last week, but I had a small meltdown and officially logged out of Twitter. That said, I feel envious of people who can use social media and actually be social on it. It sounds really nice to have Twitter friends, and maybe I used to, but I just can’t keep up with it anymore, and I am so sucseptible to the corrosive effects of Twitter on my psyche that for now, it’s just not worth it.

So, what are the things that last? Journals, sketchbooks, and posts on this WordPress blog.