Happy New Year! I had a couple of posts started that were New Years-themed. But I couldn’t bring myself to add to the recap lists and resolution noise, so you are spared. Tangentially related to New Years is the passing of time, speculation about the future, and what we leave to later generations. Like…TIME CAPSULES!
My husband and I were recently enjoying coffee and existential conversation when the subject of time capsules came up. Now, you have to understand we fall a little outside the bell-curve of normal. Our conversations can be morbid, our sense of humor tends to be dry, and we see no problem snuggling stuffed animals. So this topic wasn’t at all odd for us. In fact, given the pandemic, and the rapidly changing EVERYTHING in the world, it seemed perfectly appropriate.
My Love-Hate Relationship with the Future
I enjoy speculative fiction, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian genres; but too much of it can put me in the wrong headspace. I’ve had doomsday prepping phases where I packed my basement with peanut butter, bags of flour (of course), and shampoo. I was convinced the power grid would go down any moment and that society would collapse. I had multiple go-bags at the ready so I could leave the house at a moments notice. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a savvy shopper and grab a couple extra whatevers when they go on sale. But when I start hoarding matches, TP, and glow sticks–its a good sign I need to evaluate my fiction input, news consumption, or medication. Those times tend to coincide with my bouts of mania.
A few years, ago I was so consumed with the end of the world that I decided to get my ham radio license. Mind you, I didn’t know the first thing about it, nor did I know anyone who did. I had no access to a radio but convinced myself it would be useful when the shit hit the fan. I’d be able to call for help, to communicate over long distances. So, in a blitz of manic determination, I memorized all the ham radio facts and sat for the test. I passed. About two weeks later I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt that landed me in the ICU for a week. As you might imagine, I quickly forgot everything.
Packing The Time Capsule
But back to time capsules. They aren’t necessarily about survival. They capture the essence of a group of people, an era, or a place. They shine a light on what was. They tell a story. Or at least, that’s what I want ours to do.
We started compiling our list of what we wanted to include. For the sake of argument, we pretended capsule size wasn’t a concern. We were, after all, burying it in our back yard. If it needed to be an oversized Rubbermaid tote–so be it. My hubby had his and we chose some together, but these were mine:
- My Underwood typewriter (Because I love antiques and it shows I’m a writer)
- My recipe binder (Its pages are worn and have spills from countless uses)
- Books (The titles are yet to be chosen)
- My journals (There are many. I’d have to be selective)
- My laptop (If they could turn it on, cool. If not, there are fun stickers on the top)
- Printed photos (Of the people in my life–names, dates, and places written on the back)
- K-cups (Because, coffee! And who knows how it will be made in the future)
- One of my gnomes (Gnomes are the best, but kind of weird when you think about them)
- One of my fuzzy sweaters, a pair of Chuck Taylors, my jelly bean socks
- Greeting cards and letters (I’d include correspondence, love letters, and pictures my nieces and nephews drew for me)
- A coloring book (Because I seriously doubt that is going to be a thing in the future)
- My resume (What kind of jobs will there be?)
- All my cards (Tarot, DBT, flashcards, affirmation cards, writing prompt cards–I love cards, okay?)
- My current prescription bottles (Will mood stabilizers be as archaic as leeches in 100 years?)
- Medical records
What you’ll notice with the exception of my laptop, are no electronic devices. Yes, I use them. Yes, they are part of my daily life. But they don’t define me. They don’t say anything about my personality save the color of my portable speaker, or the band on my Fitbit.
Even though I’m quirky, even though I have mental illness, even though there are plenty of things I wish I could change about myself and my past– I’m wholly me. I want to leave a footprint on this big rock. Analog evidence of a flawed human with a deeply, intensely, and yes, richly-lived life. And that must include bipolar meds and garden gnomes, godsdamn it!
I haven’t the foggiest idea what is next for humankind. Clearly the pandemic has heighted our awareness of what is possible. I still have some anxiety about the unknown, but I’m not crippled by it. Therapy, medication, and a strong support system go a long way. Whatever happens in the future, I’ll deal with it one day at a time.