I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while but simply haven’t gotten around to it.  J  It’s pretty fitting actually since I’m going to be writing about being a pack rat, a.k.a. hoarding.  Most of us have heard someone utter, or even said it ourselves,“I’ll get around to it, ” or “I’m planning on getting to it,” whatever “it” may be (cleaning, sorting, organizing, etc.).  What about this one…have you ever not been able to answer, “Why do you have this/that?”


By no means am I at the extreme end of hoarding but I certainly have a few shoe boxes of junk that’s been collected over time.  Most of it is completely useless but I don’t have the heart to dispose of the items.  My junk shoe box on the bookshelf behind me includes things like a peltier ($0.00) I used for a college overclocking project, some coins from Europe (total value $0.35), paper nametag from some long forgotten event (priceless), and the list goes on.  I find myself doing the same thing for my digital “junk”.


I have a folder on my computer that contains some old word documents from some incomplete flyer I was created years ago but never finished.  There are some other completely useless things like some jpegs I was contemplating as backgrounds for some very old web pages that I don’t even have any more.  As with my physical junk, the list goes on for these digital possessions.  After a specific amount of time one generates a sentimental attachment to the possessions regardless of their actual value or usefulness.


I personally don’t like archiving my data off to CDs, zip/jazz drives, dvds, etc.  I like to have everything readily available on the workstation so I can find it when I need it (whether I ever look at it again is another story all together).  So what I do is just buy a big enough hard drive / raid array.


If you’re still reading at this point thanks for hanging in there!  I’ll start getting to my point shortly.


There have been a few times over the years where I’ve lost a drive and with it all the data on the disk (Ce la vie!) and I start collecting bytes all over again.  Now I completely understand that it is extremely easy to backup my data or have a RAID 1 or 5 such that I wouldn’t loose my data.  But I don’t do it, I don’t take the precautions to protect my data.  That’s where the problem lies!!!!!  I’ll elaborate….


In the instances where I lost my data I didn’t have much time to reflect on the loss.  Sure I could recall some of the data that I had lost but I was never really traumatized by the losses. I knew there was nothing I could do to get the data back.  Now if my house burned down and I lost everything in it I know I would probably be devastated.  I’ve seen enough of these situations to know that I’d never want to go through that.


My question is WHY? 


I didn’t take much psychology in school nor am I smart enough to deduce why this is the case.  Heck, I could be the only person that feels this way but I know of at least one other person that easily moved on from a loss of a HDD and all of its contents.  Does any one know the answer or care to speculate?  Have you encountered similar situations?  How would you react to loosing something tangible versus something digital?


Maybe it has to do with being able to see/interact with the aftermath of the destruction of physical data.  I know my HDD looked the same before and after dying.  Maybe I’d feel worse if I could see my files on the file system but couldn’t view their contents?  Perhaps it’s because I have a more “real” interaction with my physical possessions.  I just don’t know.


What do you all think?