The first weekend in the new year, my daughter and I opened the time capsule we had buried at the dawn of the new millenium.
It’s funny the stories we tell ourselves. In a previous post about the time capsule, I described going to the cabin to bury it on New Year’s Eve. When we opened the time capsule, taped to the cover was a baggie with the letters we had written ourselves and a four page cover spread from the San Luis Obispo Tribune dated January 1, 2000. Unless they published early, we hadn’t gone to the cabin until New Year’s Day.
So what else was inside? Just as we remembered it, an old Sony cell phone we used for emergencies only. Note the handy quick reference card tucked inside the zippered case. But why didn’t we include the charger?
In a little box marked “Open Me First” was a whole lot of nothing, insignificant trinkets.
“Mom, why did we pack all this junk?”
“I have no idea. What were we thinking?”
There were some old CDs, a cassette tape, a program from a middle school play my daughter stage managed, our custom goth Christmas card, keychains, and Gidget the stuffed dog who was the ‘Yo Quiero Taco Bell’ mascot back in the day.
Most interesting were the letters we each wrote to our future selves. The past two months I’ve struggled with the reality that 20 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to wrap my head around all the changes that have occurred in the span of those years. Changes we could never have guessed would happen to us.
Then, there were the two poems that were published in Unity Magazine in 1999, the first sales of my fledgling writing career. My letter talked about finally knowing what I want to do with my life…be a writer. Eight months later we would move from California to Michigan. Then life got in the way. Finally, 19 years after I wrote that letter, I reconnected with my writer self and last year I had my marathon story published.
It’s taken me over a month to write this post because the reality that I may not be here in another 20 years has rendered me mute. The mean spirit of our current reality makes me ponder whether that’s a bad thing. On the other hand, I’m not going down without a fight.
When writing about my life at age 25 for an English 101 class at Mira Costa College, I wrote, “I want to pass hot-dogging down a ski slope when I’m in my 90s.” I thought maybe I could will my body to ignore the inevitable decline of aging. My arthritic joints tell me I’ve not been so lucky.
My letter included the following poem I wrote to my future self about aging:
Yield to the seasons of life.
Gracefully embrace the wisdom
of passing years, while ignoring
disappointments and regrets
in the past.
Be thankful and grateful
for all that you have
and all that you are.
For in the end,
memories are all
you have left.
A memorable moment ~
a memorable millenium ~
a wonderful life.
Some words from my letter have never been more true. My letter ended with “I’ve always been a late bloomer and only now am I coming into my own…I hope this finds you happy, healthy, and living your dream.”
I am indeed.