Some people would probably argue that all this stuff should be stored electronically, and they are probably right, but I do not want to have to cart the iPad everywhere I go, delightful though this device be.
I keep the old diaries, which are surprisingly useful. I learned from Dr P how to use mine more efficiently and effectively. Before retirement, I relied on the work diary. While these diaries never provided a narrative of out lives, salient details were often recorded, and came in handy for various things which needed to be checked. Doctors' appointments, other medical matters, bills being paid, and sundry other matters. With luck, my diaries won't be needed, but I still refer to them form time to time.
I suppose blogs also provide a record of our lives, although most blogs are not a catalogue of events, more of aspects of our lives, and who went when and when.
As a young girl, I kept a diary, in which emotions were expressed, but eventually I threw these out. Even I could not be bothered reading them: the torrid emotional outpourings which, having been expressed, had served their essential functions. Now I blog, but the blog does not necessarily give an account of daily life, and, of course, what is in a blog can be highly selective. Views, not facts.
When newly married, I wrote a lot of letters, and received many in return, but mostly these were not kept. Every time you move house, it is desirable to reduce the number of possessions and records of life. Now, I wish I had kept more. However, much was written to other people, and would not have been retained, so for all intents and purposes they are gone. As babies were born, as lives became busier, as new careers were undertaken, the written records of life diminished drastically, and with every house move, letters tended to be thrown out. What I have kept is highly selective, and I must admit, reading handwritten letters is tiring. As telephone calls became cheaper, we tended to talk more on the telephone, and to write many fewer letters.
Then came email, and it seemed that correspondence flowered once more. I like to keep personal emails, but unless you knew what you were doing, it was easy to lose emails if you changed your internet service provider. Imperfect understanding caused me to hit the wrong key and thus lose many I wanted to keep. Alas and woe. So there are large chunks of my life for which I have no records. It does seems that the daily writing of a diary may have been the best way to record one's life.
Some things I have kept. Some of the correspondence from my first marriage, from the period of our engagement. Letters from family and friends about the first disastrous pregnancies.The letters received on the births of my children. Some records of when my first marriage failed. Divorce records. Some material from my working life. Letters and emails from close friends and families. Records relating to Dr P's last years and death. The legal documentation and all the affidavits. But all in all, there are relatively few records for much of my life. It does not really matter, as I hardly think my children and descendants will be very interested. Many of us would not want to think our existence should pass unrecorded. We want to leave our marks, however faint, upon the earth. But probably, more comprehensive biographies were possible for the periods when extensive letter writing was practised, and the letters retained, whether for family or for posterity.
Someone should interview biographers,and find out what they all think. Where would they have been without letters? The letters of famous people are now collected and published. How many of these volumes have been read? Many of us humans are curious: we do like to know lots about other people. Witness the rise of reality TV. And let us ponder about the reliability and truthfulness of such records.