Keepsakes, Nostalgia, and Apple

When I think back in time, to my youth, I have very strong memories of those days, but not many physical reminders or keepsakes from that era. In my parents’ house, I have some boxes stored here and there, and as I’ve moved around from NYC to SF to NYC to SF to Cambridge to Palo Alto over the last 15 years, I’ve been trying to get rid of things — not hang on to them. However, I do have a smaller box with some actual photo prints, my old passports, my old wallets, and my old wristwatches. Each of these items, in turn, carry a lot of personal nostalgia for me. You wear the wristwatch so much, it becomes a part of your body; you shape the wallet with your body over years; the passports remind you of change over the time and the places you’ve been; and the pictures, well, we all know how important those are.

Now, speeding up to 2015, close to the eve of another Apple announcement (presumably about Apple Watch), I am excited because the Watch is awesome and I want one. And, this all got me thinking: There’s time, so we have Apple Watch; there are wallets, so we have Apple Pay; there is the matter of our identity, like passports, so we have TouchID; and we have pictures, often the most critical trigger for us to recall our memories, for me now entirely taken via iPhone. All of the nostalgia I have ever kept for myself now, with Apple Watch on the way, will fit into one ecosystem, across two devices, connected in the cloud, and at my fingertips with iCloud (hopefully).

I dug out my keepsakes (see pictures below of my old wallets, watches, and passport photos). On the wallets, the green one is a freebie from Newport cigarettes, my dad got it as a promo and I wanted it so badly, so he gave it to me; on the watches, the second one from the left is something I found in the woods in my hometown and have had fixed 4-5x over the last 30 years; and on my passport photos, my dad would sign them for me as we traveled back and forth to India. It makes me realize just how transformative this mobile era is. It is not just changing how we live, but maybe also how we remember our pasts.

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Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2018 Semil Shah.

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