This afternoon I received a notice through my Linkedin social media account asking me to wish Happy Birthday to a longtime coach and friend. There’s just one problem. He’s no longer living. I still wished him Happy Birthday.
I did the same when the visage of a former boss that had passed away several years ago popped up in my Linkedin feed. I stared at his picture a moment and then typed: “Happy Birthday, dude. Too bad you’re dead.”
I share all this because life is hard and we all seem to want recognition when we’re alive. But our digital lives can turn out to be eternal if we don’t plan to have buried after our earthly lives are over. Which is why some advisors recommend keeping records of social media passwords so that if you die, your family or friends can erase your digital footprint and you won’t be left to float around some sort of digital purgatory for eternity.
I’m not kidding about any of this. A few times over the past 10 years of cycling I could easily have been killed in an instant on the road. But I have not made plans for my family to erase my digital world, which is substantial. Thus if I were to succumb to some sudden accident I would still go on living forever.
Much of the reticence to manage our digital lives postmortem comes down to passwords. We all know passwords are a royal pain, yet they are necessary for protection for our digital lives.
If you’re like me, your passwords are like a rack of ties, all similar in some respect except for change of a letter… or number…or two. I suppose many people create variations on a password platform. But that sometimes leads to even worse confusion. So. Many. Passwords. Bank accounts and credit cards, social media accounts and blogs, work email and websites. Some folks depend on apps or sites to keep all that in order.
The digital you
Think about this for a minute. Your fitness life likely lives on several different apps. There’s a Strava you and a Garmin you. There might be a Training Peaks you and any number of other fitness yous out there living in the digital universe. It’s a huge obligation keeping up with all that stuff.
Only one thing’s for sure. When you’re six feet under you’ll be stuck in a training rut. Better to turn off all those devices and shut down all those social media and other accounts, lest people think you’re a DNF in life itself.