Ten years ago, a 16-year-old me decided to put together a time capsule.
I held on to it all this time, through five moves, and never lost or got rid of it. For ten years, I never opened it, though the stickers sealing it closed had peeled away from the box within the first year, clinging only to the lid. It was important to 16-year-old me, so I did as I promised her: I neither lost it nor peeked at it.
Today, 26-year-old me opened the box, and this is what came out:
It was incredible to see what I’d thought was important enough to put away, and to realize that the one thing I thought I remembered putting in there wasn’t in there at all. (Apparently I’d changed my mind about the Teepee-shaped clay incense burner.)
There were, of course, a few trinkets:
I’ve had that ‘E’ for as long as I can remember. When I put it in that box, it stood for ‘Emily’. Now, of course, it stands for ‘Eric’, though I couldn’t have known that then.
All I really remember about that elephant is that it was very important to me. As for where it came from or who gave it to me, I have no idea any more.
I made the little beaded sandal and ball, which means this was after I’d left Girl Guides for Junior Achievement.
My love of pens and ink even then should have been an indication that I would become a writer, but I was still convinced that I would be an Artist; painting, drawing, or something visual were the only options I saw for myself back then.
In fact, I’d left a small sketch book of mine to prove it:
There were several more, of course, but that would have been far too many for one post. I’d wondered where some of these had gotten to, actually. I knew I had drawn more Celtic knot pictures than I could find in my portfolios!
A few other creations of mine made it into the time capsule:
Again, how did I not know I was a writer? The ‘E’, of course, stood for myself. I’m not sure if the ‘A’ was just because it was the first letter of the alphabet, or if it stood for someone else… and I’m hesitant to speculate as that could embarrass a few people.
I’d actually forgotten that I used to make tissue-paper flowers, which is a bit impressive since I used to make a lot of them.
And finally, I’d included a picture of myself:
I had a hard time deciding how to title this one, actually. I was still her, in a way, but there’s a good reason a lot of these reflections include the words: ‘I’d forgotten’ or ‘I don’t remember’. I was 16. That’s a hard age for anyone, but I had the extra confusion of suspecting that puberty wasn’t going the way I expected, but having no idea why that was or how to express that feeling. I checked out a bit, emotionally. I dealt with it by not dealing with it–or much of anything else.
In the end though, if I were to go back ten years and ask myself my name, I would have responded, “Emily.” As such, this is, in fact, a picture of her.
After looking back, it’s time for me to look forward. I will make another time capsule (but this time I’ll include a letter so I know what I was thinking) and look ahead at the next ten years. Here’s to the 36-year-old me, whoever he may be!