It goes without saying that time moves fast. Time often seems to fly, but it is mostly because we don’t stop to notice its presence. If I checked my height with etched tick marks on the wall in my bedroom each day, I’d draw my hand level with the very same point. The same way, if I thought about my moral values each day, I’d probably see little difference. Change in practically anything isn’t noticeable without the passing of a significant amount of time.
If you rummage through the deepest part of my relatively shallow closet, you’ll encounter a plastic water bottle, that has quietly accompanied me in every house I’ve lived in for the past 10 years. Not for the lack of a better term, it is simply a “message in a bottle” containing my third grade identity within its crinkling, plastic exterior. Wrapped on the outside over the Aquafina label is a thin paper marked with the date it is to be opened. Our third grade teacher Phillip Done told me and my classmates to choose a date far in the future for when we would break open the bottle — I picked June 2016.
On the first of June, the day I graduate from high school, I’ll be taking that plastic water bottle out of my closet and opening it. I’m hopeful that my third grade self put time and effort into the letter he wrote me, or the objects he chose to cast away inside the plastic. Yet 10 years is a long time, and I hardly know what to expect. I was probably over 20 tick marks on the wall below where I am now, and like Marty McFly from Back to the Future, I likely had no idea what a decade into the future would look like.
On this day, I’ll also be filling up a new bottle to be opened at the next stage of my life. I hope you will join me in this adventure and make your own time capsule.
Make Your Own Time Capsule
CONTAINER — Selecting this component mainly depends on how much you intend to store in your capsule. The more momentos or keepsakes you want to include, the bigger the container needs to be. If you are intent on burying it, opt for a more airtight container as it will be exposed to moisture. If you’re looking to keep it safely hidden at the back of your closet, a bottle, flask or even shoebox should do.
LETTER — This is the key component of your capsule. Like a diary entry, it helps the future you paint a picture of what you were like at the time you wrote the letter, so make sure to include details about your thoughts, values and hopes for the future.
SENTIMENTAL ARTIFACTS — Consider including objects that represent your current interests or passions. Avoid perishables at all costs. Freeze dried foods are possibly the one exception to the “no perishables” rule.
ITEMS OF TODAY — Give the future you a perspective of the world you live in today. Items such as newspaper clippings, prices of your favorite foods or popular trinkets can all be included.
REGISTER YOUR CAPSULE — If you are feeling official or commemorative, register your capsule with the international time capsule society at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. For advice, visit the New York Times’ piece at http://tinyurl.com/nytimecampsule or consult the Library of Congress’ for guidlines.