the photos that mean the most

Lately I've been daydreaming about what it would be like to "quantum leap" back into my past self and cope with the technology I was using then. (Of course, I guess it would be more true to the show to try and fix all of the problems I've made for myself, but that's a different episode.)

Just tons of little things: "Oh right, my first iPhone didn't have copy and paste and the network was super slow" "Oh yeah, you used to have to type URLs into the address bar, Google keywords had their own box," "Oops no cellphone!" "Oh dang, Windows 95 didn't really support USB"... " "Windows 3.1 things minimized to icons, no task bar", "Oh tape walkman!" etc etc.

And more recently I've been sorting through old digital photos, separating the wheat from the chaff. And besides appreciating a few well composed shots and savoring photos of people I miss, it's often the background incidentals I find interesting: what was on my bookshelves, how an old shared apartment was arranged, what decoration it had, and of course those glimpses of technology (like an old browser open to some random page, or a PalmPilot lying on a table, etc)

I guess close inspection of these images is as close to "quantum leap" time travel as I'll be able to get. Some I'm disturbed how we're all borderline amnesiacs (this happens to everyone, right?) -- these photos from a decade ago show events I have no real recollection of, sometimes even people I don't know anymore. (Though of course, memories are so often made by later remembrance rather than at the moment of the event, so this kind of photographic review is an exercise in remembering more deeply.)

Right now I'm back to the very early 2000s, which is also when I started a daily diary, so sometimes I'm able to cross-correlate events when the photos don't tell the full story. (You know, there was an uptick in photos around this time as well, and it was after I philosophized my way out of being uptight about death. That might not be a coincidence...)

Of course, the sheer volume is a bit overwhelming. I've been an avid digital photographer for over 15 years (and was taking selfies before it was cool) -- sometimes I'm distraught at how little time I've had on the planet, but these photos remind me by their shear volume that it was actually quite a lot.

Related: on the benefits of living more deeply in the past... or the future... or the present.