• Daniel Kephart

Why You Should Make a Time Capsule

Today's article is a guest post by Jaime Stannie, a graduate student in Psychology.

When I was a wee Jaime in my mother’s belly, she, as so many expecting mothers do, had a baby shower. She got the usual baby clothes, cards, diapers, but she also received a very unusual gift. A time capsule. The instructions were to put a bunch of things in for the baby to one day open when they got to a certain age written on the top of the metal can. Very odd. Very cool. The age my mother had chosen was 21 and boy, that was a tough wait. I used to touch the can, hold it, shake it, but I never opened it until after my twenty-first birthday. That odd baby gift ended up meaning more to all of us than any of the more practical things she probably received that day. She had included letters written from loved ones when I was born, which was so heartwarming to read all those years later. My grandfather had passed away unexpectedly when I was very young, so I wasn’t able to know him. For my twenty-first birthday, I received my first and only letter from him. You can’t imagine how much that meant. You are probably thinking, “Jaime, that’s sweet, but why is this relevant?”

And to that I reply: touché.

But seriously, folks: I want to inspire you to think ahead and have something to look back at. Anyone that journals knows how cool it is to look back at old entries and see how things played out. I challenge you to take it a step further. Make a time capsule. Nothing is as molding as time. I know my grandfather didn’t expect our relationship to be contingent on that single letter, but that’s the bittersweet beauty of time. We never know how much we have or who we will become with enough of it. Who were you five years ago?

My senior year of high school, one of our projects for English was to write entries in this binder of our current opinions, goals, and fond memories. We were instructed to wait until enough time had passed to go back and read what we put to see how we have changed. Now in graduate school, I felt like it was time. People always ask you where you expect to be in five years, but it was interesting to hear my responses from five years ago. I didn’t realize how many goals I had achieved. I crossed so much off of my bucket list! My views on love and life and friendship have evolved and morphed with experiences I couldn’t anticipate then. I am so grateful to that girl who wrote those for me. It took me to remind me what was important to me. Trippy, I know.

This is something anyone can do with patience. Once you decide what you want to put in your box or binder, the only step left is let it be. The hardest thing to do is do nothing, especially if it is a gift for a loved one or you are an extra curious bird like myself. Let time work its magic. Let yourself grow and be made new, so when you look back you will have something to show for it. I really feel like this is something anyone could do. As the recipient of one from a baby shower, I do think it is special for anyone pregnant wanting to make something for their baby. My mother included newspaper clippings and various stuff from my first year of life. As someone who did it as a senior in high school, I think it's great to do with school students to see their progress or as a passion project to see personal development. Newly weds. Grandparents. Youth groups. Anyone. The benefit is the same. You can evaluate who you are, and let the person you become see the difference. What is important to you? What do you want? Who are you? You have the answers, and maybe in a few years, you’ll have more.

“You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

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