Thursday, February 14 : 2:21 AM : 0 comments :

Do you ever feel like the days, weeks, months, and years are just slipping by? Here we are, almost a quarter of the way through 2008 and it seems like New Year's Eve was just yesterday. The problem with being out of school is that you have no bearings anymore.

It was easy in high school or college to remember events and trips and important moments in your life. "That was definitely sophmore year." "It was right after spring break junior year." "We met right around mid-terms because we were studying together." There's lots of deadlines and milestones to help jog your memory by association. But once you get out into the real world, everything starts to blend together doesn't it?

Quick, when were the last five weddings you attended? And was Gene's or Connie's first? Did you meet so-and-so five years ago or four years ago? Which trip to New York did that happen? Exactly how long have those two been going out? It's the fuzzy memories we have that make us feel old. So, in an effort to clear that all up, I've embarked on my next project: Creating a personal timeline (for me and then eventually for you) that will allow me to see, at a glance, what I've been doing with my life.

If it's truly not the destination but the journey that counts, I'd like to be able to relive things in a coherent and orderly fashion. When everything starts to blend together and you can no longer pick out distinct events, I believe that it makes you feel like you're just skimming along without much idea of how much you've done, how much growth you've accomplished (or lack thereof), and what you'd like to do in the future.

With that idea in hand, I introduce to the world my prototype: My So-Called Life Version 1.0. Yes, it's just an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Doc). Sure, it's super low tech, but already you can see the promise of such a system. In the last seven years, a lot has happened and now I've got a much better handle on things. I'm still wrong on a few dates, I've been unable to track down exactly how many weddings I've attended -- I know for damn sure it's a lot -- and I have to fill in quite a few gaps, but for the most part, this is a good overview.

It took me awhile to figure out a nice system and to start cross-referencing everything against old blogs and pictures. The next step is to create a better visual representation of everything. Perhaps by breaking the years down into seasons and eliminating some categories in favor of others. The goal is not (solely) to create a vanity timeline but to have it interface with your friends' timelines so that you can take a look and see why you aren't in touch anymore. Ha, or something like that.

Doesn't this sound like an application Facebook, or some other social networking site, should have? Think about how nice this would be to link to your Flickr collection. A pictorial timeline would be awesome.

It's important to keep track of milestones in our lives -- big or small -- and I envision a future when everything you do, or did, will simply be online and interfaced with everyone else's lives. With each other's permission of course. To the future...

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