When we are born, a birth certificate is usually created with our Name, Date, Weight, Length, Parents names, location, etc.. It is also at this point that our Health Record begins tracking injections, infections, operations, procedures, prescriptions, reactions…
When / If we join or are entered into some religious group, records are kept of the group name, location, and other pertinent information. This “membership” will also keep track of events specific to the organization: Bat Mitzvah, Baptism, Weddings, Death notices.
As we proceed through our education, data is collected about where we attended, what courses we took, what grades we achieved and what disciplinary actions might have been taken / necessary. And there are records for the costs and debts we incur. Those Student Loan records will follow us forever, whenever, however we try to lose them.
And, again, during our education, we take / make notes on paper or electronically and we retain some of these notes for studying in preparation to take exams where we get Grades and notices from our Instructors about how to improve or maintain our level of achievement
Once we graduate from schools or leave before we might have graduated, we join other communities: The Military, Religious Orders, Jobs, Companies of one kind of another. These events are when the real interesting data events start to unfurl.
Employment records keep track of Titles, Achievements, Income, Employments Benefits and Costs, Taxes (Paid or Owed), Hiring, Firing, Performance Assessments, Remediation Steps taken or suggested, …
Self employment must keep track of Expenses, Income and their sources, Tax Payments, Deductions and regulatory tax filings whether we are employed or self employed.
While employed (self or otherwise) we create info in files or on paper reflecting the content and intent of our positions. Some of these records are stored on our employers’ media since they are “works for hire” and others are retained in files (paper or electronic) in our own locations: file cabinets, folders, baskets, trash bins or hard drives / cloud drives.
Some of us write books, recipes, instructions, blogs, articles, clippings, critiques, editorials. These materials are retained, published, sold, held for posterity, hoarded.
There are hard drives and manila folders all over the world that contain treasures and trash containing the data of our lives. There is value and potential wasted time in the content of these files. But, who uses these values? What happens to all that learning, discovery, insight, … if no one has access to all this data?
What will happen to your data when you no longer have access to it?
What is the After Life of our Data? Who could benefit from our information? Who will benefit from yours once you have no more need of it?