7.08.2011

Time capsules and lessons learned...

time capsule
time capsule
In case you've ever doubted my complete and deep-rooted dorkiness...in 1990, I made a time capsule and buried it in my childhood home (photo directly above). My uncle later bought the home, found my time capsule, and gave it to me when I was in my early twenties. In 2000, I made yet another time capsule, placed the 1990 capsule inside, and buried both at my parents' current home (top photo). I found it last weekend. It was scheduled to be opened in 2010, but 2010 came and went without me remembering. I spent a few hours the other night digging through the contents; some were hilarious and some a bit sad. Here's a list of some of the more interesting artifacts in the time capsules:
  • tickets to every concert I'd ever attended (the first being Bob Dylan in 7th grade!)
  • tons of hilarious handwritten letters that reminded me to write more letters now. Everyone loves handwritten mail.
  • a list of "favorite friends", only 6 of whom I still know and adore. Interestingly, they're the only people I listed without last names next to their first. Everyone else...first and last names.
  • a list of goals for the year 2000 (the funniest being: organize my books for insurance purposes). I read that goal and thought, "Really, Abbey?!". I don't know many 23-year-olds concerned with organizing their books for insurance purposes.
  • a long letter from an ex-boyfriend mourning the death of Jerry Garcia. Did I mention that a fair number of the concert tickets were for Grateful Dead shows? Ha! There was a stack of letters from that ex-boyfriend, but this is the only one I decided to keep (um, yes...for my next time capsule).
  • glass and pottery shards from our house that burnt down when I was 5-years-old. Very early in my college career, I seriously considered becoming an archeologist.
  • a note that I wrote at age 13 to the person who opened the time capsule. My two favorite lines? "I have the smallest bedroom ever." and, next to a drawing of a stick figure, "I draw better than that, usually!". Ever the critic.
  • journals packed full of late teen/early twenty-something angst. Wowser.
time capsule
I must admit that I was initially pretty mortified by the contents of my journals and by some of the things I stashed in the time capsule. After a few days of reflection, however, I've come to the conclusion that personal time capsules are meant to be sort of shocking and embarrassing. I don't really recognize that version of myself anymore and am relieved that my life has taken a different direction. I'd be worried if I had opened the time capsule and seen a reflection of my current self. Lessons learned (aka: my advice to younger Abbey):
  • leave your damn eyebrows alone.
  • you're never going to be his first priority. Move on. Your life is about to get infinitely better. And, as hurtful as it may seem at age 23, his life is going to be better without you. In time, you'll be genuinely happy for him.
  • that charming older guy? He may be charming, but he's also way too old for you.
  • with regard to love, don't resign yourself to mediocrity. When you absolutely give up, your future husband (and the father of your children...yes, two!) is going to introduce himself over a stack of restaurant menus (true story). He's going to be an amazing husband and father, and you're going to be madly in love with him. The best part? He's going to be madly in love with you as well....and you're going to see that everyday in how he treats you, your children, your family, and your friends.
  • it's just not going to work out with someone who doesn't like books or red wine. It will work out with a guy who doesn't really like tattoos...no, not even yours.
  • speaking of tattoos, you may want to reconsider getting that one on your right shoulder; you won't like it when you're 34.
  • quality over quantity...focus on the friends whose last names you don't need to write down. Future best friends are right around the corner.
  • quit that crappy bartending job.
  • organize your books for insurance purposes, so 34-year-old Abbey doesn't get all weird and think to herself, "Hmmmm...maybe I should organize our books for insurance purposes."
  • your 23-year-old butt isn't big. It will be bigger in ten years, so enjoy the butt you have. And don't worry about the impending bigger butt because the people who matter the most could care less.
  • be kinder to yourself and to others.
So, I'm curious, my dears. Have you ever made a time capsule? What did you think when you opened it? What advice would you give to your former self?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

As your cousin I remember watching you put together the first time capsule. I was only 8 but I remember sitting at the table and you showing me what was in it. I remember you telling me why you were going to hide it and I also remember asking myself why is she going to hide all this great stuff.
I love that you posted this. It brings back so many great momories! I always looked up to you, you're my awesome older cousin who has become not just a cousin but a friend. Love you!
-jolie

April said...

With my enormous obsession with Warhol, I've always been amazed by time capsules. He had a whole series of his own throughout his life in brown paper bags that were numbered and dated.

I loved that you shared your own with us.

Petra said...

I've never made a time capsule, but I'm gonna... Loved reading this post! I did however kept diaries for some periods in my life. I had a good laugh when I saw all the ridiculous hippie-inspired names for my future children.

our little love nest said...

Wouldn't it be great to have an older version of ourselves give us some well needed advice? So hard finding our way sometimes. Love this post!

amy said...

Hmmm. Should I be inventorying my books for insurance purposes? Your 23-year-old self may have created a monster over here.

PS: If you make a new time capsule for your new farmhouse, definitely have EZ E and Kicky add some things or thoughts. The more minds, the better.

Juli said...

Oh, I love your time capsule! Thank you for sharing it with us. I completely agree w/ all of the revelations you received from leafing through your "past life." I have a time capsule of sorts in my grandfather's barn. This is where my Mom-hoarder shoved all of my stuff in the multiple years that she & Dad have moved. I've been digging through the barn to find cool stuff to furnish my house & found my binders filled with "Outfit Ideas", most of which were old Esprit derived. A good many involved dressing in old men's blazers paired w/ miniskirts, lots of layers, scarves tied around legs & arms, assymetrical hairstyles & Converse chucks. I've found numerous old love letters and plenty of I'm-bored-in-class-so-I'm-writing-you letters from my Middle school best friend (who had the mouth of a sailor!) I am still searching for the drawings I did of my future children. I'd love to see if they match up at all with the reality of my 3 beautiful kids. I wrote out their names & personalities & drew intricate portraits as best as a 10 yr can!

curlygirlpress said...

Haven't made one, but I did go through all of my old journals one evening and decided I wanted out of that "why doesn't he love me more cycle." I decided to burn those pages and let that part of me go, which totally led to embracing the relationship I was in and then marrying the guy almost a year ago. Like you I finally gave up and then there he was. What fun, Abbey!

Diane said...

I really enjoyed this post.

I've never made an actual time capsule, but I do have boxes of memorabilia I look at every few years. I also have a letter I wrote to my sone when he was born for when he turns 21. He is 12 right now.

A personal time capsule is something everyone should create. It is a wonderful reminder of how far we have come and how good we have it. Thanks for sharing!

Diane

Astrid said...

I love this! What fun. Never a time capsule, but plenty of boxes of notebooks. My Mum gave me a little book of drawings I'd done when I was twelve, all featuring a lime green human-sized hairball called "Fluffy". I really really thought I'd make my fortune as a cartoonist with that hairball. Ah, t'was not to be...

CARRIE said...

Thanks for sharing! I recently found a small photo album from when I was 20 where I listed all of my favorite things and where I thought I would be in the future. It was, as you said uncomfortable and embarrassing, but also kind of funny, too. I'm not sure I would tell my younger self to change anything, though, except maybe that trying to go blonde by bleaching at home is a very, very bad idea.

jenny said...

I have journals that I started writing in when I was 10. Hmm.. apparently I was quite boy-crazy, as there are plenty of "Jenny loves So-and-So" pages.

I used to think that I would let my kids read them someday so they'd know I was a kid once and I could relate to them, but after reading them, I'm not too sure just what they'd think about my younger self.

sécia said...

I have indeed. Left for someone else to find when I was a little girl. I have no idea if anyone ever found it. You've just inspired me to make one this summer to open in ten years. :)

♥ sécia
www.petiteinsanities.blogspot.com

Lotti said...

I love your advice to a younger Abbey, it made me chuckle.

Krissy said...

I can't believe I never thought to do a time capsule. It seems totally like something I would have done. I love this story and the smart advice you would give yourself then. Wonderful. Have you made one for when you're 43 yet?

Seth said...

Can't say that I have ever made a time capsule but I really enjoyed reading about yours and seeing your insights. Hope to be reading your blog in ten years to be there for the next capsule!

Rachael, Pistachio Press said...

I love this whole post. I never made a time capsule. Mostly from laziness and the rest from embarrassment over reading old journals from middle school. I never wanted to relive the angst! And I so agree with the advice of embracing your 23-year-old butt!

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

I completely loved this post, too: lessons learned, earnestness of creating the time capsule, the whole thing.

Julie said...

Wishing I had made a time capsule - several really. Fantastic story. Thanks for sharing it all! I'm feeling inspired to see if my girls and I might pursue it this summer.

chrissy said...

your post was lovely and full of inspiration.
a few years ago i wrote a letter to my younger self and posted it on, of all places, facebook. this inspired me to re-read it and also to write an updated version to the author of that letter. she needs to be less dramatic.

xoxo
http://tinylittlehappies.blogspot.com/

daneastside said...

time capsule, thats a great idea i am on it. for the year 2041

Upsicle Girl! said...

Perfect! My baby girl turns one soon and I've been looking for something special to do for her. Now I think we'll do a time capsule. How long till she opens it? 5 years? 10? 20 even!?

ter said...

I love this post!!! my mom recently gave me a treasure box full of highschool & college memories,letters, poems, journals etc. If I knew that young lady that wrote and kept all that stuff, I would seek her out and give her a big wake up slap in the face! I would also tell her about the amazing guy she was going to end up with and not to worry about about all the stupid stuff she was going through! your entry totally resonated with me!!

Abbey said...

I love your advice; all of it is so true. I was going through some papers/files recently from my 20s and thinking I didn't really recognize myself either. the 20s suck! yay for the 30s and babies (and husbands!)

The Stapelia Company said...

A time capsule! I wish I'd thought to do that (though I, like you would probably be mortified by the contents). "Organize books for insurance purposes." Best line ever.

design something better said...

I love this post. Wonderful x infinity.

Stacy

Karyn said...

I love this post!

Sabine / Kultur* Vintage said...

I adore this post as well, especially your notes to your younger self... : )

Lisa Maria said...

I love the advice you give to yourself! It makes me feel better for feeling a little unsure of myself at 23 years old.

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