“You’ll look back at this one day and laugh.”
Unless you’re a human encyclopedia — and if so, I pity you, because I do rather enjoy the convenience of being able to forget useless crap — you’re likely to forget things.
Names, phone numbers, events — even life lessons.
One of the reasons why we as a species continue to make the same stupid mistakes time and time again is because we forget the trials, tribulations and challenges we go through in life. You may have a faint recollection of what your life was like at certain points, sure, but you often won’t remember the emotions or atmosphere, the things that were going through your mind — things like that. You’re looking back on your life with a different lens, so the things you learn from those experiences are MUCH different that what you would have learned in the moment.
But I’d like to propose a solution to this.
I was reading a post from Caity and through that she introduced me to futureme.org, a site that reminds me a lot of the time capsules I used to build in grade school (and later, but I’ll get to that shortly).
The premise? Write a letter to yourself, and have futureme.org hold onto it for a set amount of time — it could be months, years, whatever. You choose however long you think you’ll need. It lets you pick a specific day for delivery.
After that, it’ll automatically send you an email with your letter on the day you’ve chosen, and you can see how much things may have changed since you wrote it. You’ll probably care about different things, have different things going on in your environment — things change. This is the nature of life. But just because things change, it doesn’t mean that we need to forget who we are. The things you learn as a toddler and just as important as what you’ll learn as a teen, and then as an adult, etc.
I’ll be writing myself a letter soon to remind myself of the challenges I face right now, but also of the good things going on too. They’re equally important. Life is all about balance, and you need to see both sides of the coin in order to truly understand your life.
I have a time capsule of sorts that I put together in my high school days; where I was for quite some time, we did the candygram thing at Christmas. You know, pay some money, get a sheet of Christmasy paper, write a note to a friend to be sent with some candy. However, there were a few factors that made it a little different at my school:
- Instead of paying $0.25+ for a candygram and getting a piece of candy per message, we were more about the message than the candy and charged $0.05 for a half page or $0.10 for a full page. This made kids more likely to buy candygrams en masse, since they were colourful and cool to get
- It was a small private school for brainy kids — at any given time, there was a maximum of 625 students, but the minimum was closer to 480. Most everyone knew everyone else, so there was a compulsion to write messages to ALL of your friends, or else people would feel left out
- I think that at any given time, there was a maximum of 4 Black kids in the school, so people tend to know who you are if you’re one of them
- From the first year, I wrote candygrams to everyone I knew. I was there for five years. In that time, the number of people who reciprocate would grow EXPONENTIALLY. I consider it equal parts guilt, obligation and the return of the kindness that others show you
This has resulted in a shoebox full of candygrams. (I wear size 11’s, so that should give you a good idea of the dimensions of this box.) There are a plethora of kind messages, forgotten memories and good feelings in this box. But to stop myself from entrenching myself in the past, I’ve sealed this box in multiple layers of duct tape. I call it my “Happy Box”. If I ever feel I get to a point in my life where I can no longer handle the pressure; where I’m about to lose myself in the stresses of my life, I think that box will save me from self-destruction. It is for
emergency use only. But I wish that more people who went down the wrong paths in life had things like this to re-orient themselves and help them to remember who they once might have been.
Now, this might not be as cool as the FUTURE you sending you an email today, but you know what? If you knew exactly what was supposed to go down in your life from here on in, not ONLY would you cause a potential time paradox and doom us all, but, well — you’d never learn anything. And that would be the most boring thing of all.
And, obviously, you wouldn’t want to end up in this scenario: