I say ‘just’, it actually took 32 hours to clear the inbox entirely. Emails went as far back as 2006 in Gmail, with a whole host of social media notification updates such as:

  • “You’ve just received a new message on Bebo!”
  • “You’ve just received a friend request on MySpace.”
  • “Thank you for signing up for a Facebook account.”

It was scary just how much information about my childhood was contained in those 100,000+ emails. At first glance they could all appear to be junk, but with the right analysis tool, it wouldn’t be difficult for someone to get a very accurate picture of what my teenage years were like. Messages from old love interests (one of which is now married!), attachments from secondary school and plenty of University essay drafts.

To have all of that information deleted provides an air of freedom, but also a clear sense of loss. The past has truly been erased; gone in a couple of keystrokes. It’s not like I’m trying to escape the past of if I have a problem with Google owning so much information about my life. It just needed deleting.

Whilst I let my laptop process all those emails I went on a 7-mile walk with my other half to help her train for the Marsden March, which happens next weekend. Walking from Esher I took this picture as we passed over the A3, the giant urban pathway is strangely beautiful. It reminded me that it is good to see the world through your own eyes, rather than represented through pixels on a screen.

Walking over the A3

I wonder what the next 100,000+ emails about my life will look like?

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