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I have hard drives from 15 years ago that no longer work, and the CDs I backed up the files to are cracked and peeling. All those memories that I thought were worth saving have gone up in smoke – just like a fire or a flood, but without the drama. I didn’t even notice it happening – it crept up on me while I was busy living in the now.

It would be a tragedy to lose all your memories. To lose pictures of the most important things in your life. But that tragedy is invisibly unfolding for families everywhere without anyone even noticing.

Current technologies like Tic Toc, Instagram, Facebook and JPEGs feel like they will last forever. But they won’t. Eventually the next shiny and useful thing will come along, and just like Tamagotchis, CDs, and home telephones these ideas will be obsolete and forgotten, along with the images and memories stored within them.

It would be impossible to save every single photo I have taken in a physical printed form, but I could have saved some of them, the most important and cherished photos, by simply printing the most precious ones and putting them in a photo album. I have learned my lesson. I have a small collection of my most treasured memories carefully and lovingly secured in a set of photo albums on a shelf. When I want to look back on the events and details that have formed my life, I just open one up, the images coming alive on each page. And the memories come flooding back. Birthday parties with friends and family come alive in my imagination, triggering recollections not captured in photos, but locked away in the recesses of my brain. It’s a quiet and joyous reflection, turning the pages of my life, re-living the moments so priceless to me.

Clicking through images on a sterile computer screen just isn’t the same. Sometimes it’s quality, not quantity that makes life worth living.