So, I was digging through some old stuff in my hope chest. Yes, I have a hope chest. My high school boyfriend made it for me with wood and tools and his own two hands. Because of that fact, I have never had the heart to get rid of it. I can count the number of people who have made me furniture on one finger.
As you would expect my husband isn’t thrilled about the hope chest. But more so because he has had to move it from house to house, during our almost fourteen years of marriage. The chest is solid wood and fairly heavy. Even though he has given me four beautiful children, he has never once built me a hope chest. So, he moves it. That is love.
Anyway, I was digging through my hope chest and I found something that I had long forgotten existed. A time capsule. Not just any time capsule. A time capsule from 1988. It was an assignment that my class was given in the ninth grade. I guess the whole point was to have something to look back on, once high school was a distant memory.
I can’t be sure that I ever read the time capsule after graduation. I probably did but that was twenty-five years ago, so it was kind of like reading it for the first time. The actual time capsule was nothing more than a three-ring folder stuffed with papers. There was also old pictures glued to it and a small clasped envelope, filled with letters from friends and mementos.
The first thing that grabbed me was this sexy picture of myself.
The hair. The puff-paint bow decorated sweatshirt. The hand of someone whom I clearly did not wish to remember after graduation. And just for the record, it was not the hand of the one who gave me a hope chest.
I found a letter to myself. Which was not unusual. Back then we wrote handwritten letters to our friends on a daily basis. Why not write one to myself? The letter talked about how I should go to college before deciding to start a family. I told my future self that I should get a man who was “cute, strong, sensitive, caring, supportive, loving and intelligent.” Which considering how my husband continues to move a hope chest made by a high school boyfriend, I would say I did pretty well.
I also told myself that once I had children, I should devote my all to them but to never forget that I can be anything that I want in life. Always remember to go for it and have fun. Pretty insightful fifteen year old.
Next, I found a two page essay about why the dog was the animal I admired most. Followed by a list titled “Fifty Things That Make Me Feel Good.” I had everything from listening to loud music to watching snow fall. In the binder, I included a very detailed school day schedule, complete with whom I walked to my locker with after each class. I wrote yet another paper about why my bedroom was my favorite place to hang out
There were several other inserts including my top eighty-three favorites (random number, but okay) which ranged from favorite chips to favorite shampoo. It was a great walk back through my youth.
Then I got to the last paper. It was a piece that I had written in second period English. This one was simply titled “I Am.” I had to write about five characteristics that I possessed as a person. This one was my favorite.
Number one: sensitive
Now I don’t consider myself overly sensitive anymore. Which kind of makes me sad. Could it be that twenty-eight years of life since I wrote that paper have made me a hardened person? Or have the years in fact taught me that you have to live for yourself and not worry about what others think? I couldn’t say for sure.
Number two: Punctual
Then I went on and on about how important it was to be where you say, when you say. Except that silly girl did not have four children and a husband. What could she possible know about being punctual? Sure, I am mostly punctual. Sometimes anyway.
Number three: Outgoing
Although I do consider myself outgoing, to read my ninth grade definition of outgoing was different. I told myself to take risks and chances in life. Not only financial and physical chances that could make me richer and stronger but also emotional chances. Wow. That one was never my strong suit. Emotional chances were the scariest of them all. I would almost rather jump out of an airplane. (I am never jumping out of an airplane.) I hope I haven’t let her down.
Number four: Hardworking
Now this one I could hug her for. I still believe that hard work pays off and I hope to instill this into my children. I think I did pretty okay with that one.
Number five: Carefree
Oh dear. Although I try to adhere to this one, it is harder than it sounds. How about, I am a perfectionist who sprinkles in carefree moments? I mean, seriously, I am the adult in charge in most situations. Life can’t be all willy-nilly. But I can appreciate the sentiment to relax sometimes.
Does my face scream carefree to you?
Reconnecting with my younger version was so much fun. I think that fifteen year old girl has followed her own advice fairly well. Life has a way of sculpting us as we get older. It is inevitable. However, if we hold on to the core things that make us who we are, everything will turn out pretty okay. With age comes wisdom.
I can’t wait to let my almost thirteen year old daughter see my time capsule. Maybe then she can see that I was once like her. I am sure I was absolutely no where near as cool as her. (Wait, do they still say cool?) Maybe she can see that sometimes I really do understand what she is going through and sometimes I actually do know what I am talking about.
I listed Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me as the greatest song, until the end of time. I know stuff.
Thank you to whoever forced us into this assignment way back then. For just a moment, I was on the brink of my entire bright future again.
I would like to know why I taped a camel to the notebook. But okay.