The experiment – scope and analysis

The analysis of what I wanted to achieve with the retirement cards and messages confirmed my initial notion that I should digitise them and include them in a printed photobook. Then, I got to thinking that I could include the leaving cards from my previous jobs; and it was a only a short jump from there to deciding to make it a photobook of all the jobs I have had and all their associated artefacts (including offer letters, payslips, and, in one case, reject drills from when I worked on a lathe). This much extended scope would provide a pretty searching test of the feasibility of digitising and bringing to life such mementos.

I extended the analysis to include this wider scope, with the results below:

During my lifetime I want:

  • the retirement comments and messages to be read…. by me ….occasionally;
  • the people who sent me the retirement cards and messages to be remembered…. by me… occasionally;
  • pride to be felt on reading some of the retirement messages…. by me…. occasionally;
  • the jobs I have done over the years to be glanced through…by me…occasionally;
  • the names and pictures of people I have worked with to be available as a reference source… by me… when the need arises;
  • the information about my career to be available… for anyone who is interested… when the need arises.

After death I want:

  • the material to be either kept or thoroughly destroyed (because of the personal information it contains)… by whichever relative it is passed onto;
  • the book to be glanced at…. by the relatives who knew me …. a few times;
  • fond memories of me to be felt…. by the relatives who knew me… a few times;
  • pride of the family to be felt… by the relatives who knew me… a few times;
  • the photobook to be used to tell family offspring about their ancestors… by older members of the family… when appropriate.

I must say that I found the analytical process particularly hard to do. It was difficult to identify and verbalise my feelings; and it felt uncomfortable and self indulgent doing so. I have concluded that for this to be a useful tool for others (and indeed for myself), it would need to be in the form of a picklist with the options already identified. Perhaps that is something I’ll work on later. Another thing I observed was that my wishes were different when I expanded the scope from my retirement cards and messages to all the jobs I have done in my career – even though the latter included the former. It seems that different groupings of mementos, and the different contexts one places groups of mementos in, can actually change what one wants to do with them.

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