When I set up my new PC, I took advantage of the opportunity to 'properly' synchronise the Outlook email folders with the webmail versions used by my providers. This had the effect that Outlook promptly downloaded every email I had received in those accounts, going right back to 2009. It was something of a shock to suddenly have 5,000+ emails to dig through, the vast majority of which are spam emails from one company or another.
Since then, I've been gradually going through the painstaking process of sorting all those emails, deleting the junk and filing the rest away into a more ordered set of folders. I'm now down to having a mere 1,000 emails to go through, from July 2011 back to January 2010. So with a lot of luck I'll have that job done soon.
What has been quite strange, though, has been reading through all those emails. Because I started with the most recent ones and worked backwards (excepting the three months of 2009 that were covered), it has essentially been a process of walking backwards through time - seeing the confirmation emails for Christmas presents, film tickets, and holidays; seeing the emails associated with the wedding cropping up (in reverse) and then subsiding; seeing the band have exactly the same discussions four years ago as we had in January (to do with school lets). It was quite odd seeing weekly spam emails from various companies gradually disappearing, presumably from the point where someone sold them my address. (In some cases, there was the oddity of the emails appearing, persisting for a while, and then disappearing again. I guess if you shop there once, and then not again for three years, they might lose interest.)
I was also somewhat perplexed for a while about an invoice from Premier Inn. Why did I have a one-night stay in London in November of 2011, I wondered? And then, a few 'months' earlier I found the answer - Lady Chocolat had been in Kenya, and that was when I went down to London to meet her return flight. Ahah!
But what has surprised me most, though, was the record of just when we'd seen various films in the cinema. Constantly, I was surprised at just how long ago it was since these films came out. (I was also surprised at just how many really bad films we'd been to see, but I probably shouldn't have been - after all, I was there at the time!)
(Oh, and what's also odd is not so much what's there as what's missing. There have obviously been some significant events over the past five years - several births, marriages, and a significant death - and some of these generated not a single email. Yet "Prometheus" gets two. Strange.)