Of Parties, Time Capsules, and Choosing Your Trajectory
The party was tonight. It was the Dougan Leap Year Doughnut Party.
Peering into the doughnut case this afternoon, we nabbed two glazed ones, two white frosted sprinkled ones, and one filled with raspberry jelly. On the way home, Morgan and I laughed and talked, with me purposefully reigning in my own expectations.
|Photo: Christine Rondeau, Creative Commons, cc license|
Upstairs around the dining room table, the five of us clambered into chairs. Two plastic cases of strawberries and blueberries sprawled open invitingly, and the five doughnuts gleamed beneath a translucent panel in the cardboard box.
Cracking jokes and tossing berries into our mouths, we stopped to pray, and then we began. Two slim paper envelopes held our attention, and I slid my finger under the seals, drawing out multiple sheets of paper.
“Morgan, here’s yours from 2008. John, yours.”
“Look at how small our writing was then!”
“I only wrote three lines!” another exclaimed. “Here’s a drawing I did,” she pointed, laughing.
“Who wants to read theirs first?” I asked.
One by one, we took turns reading our handwriting from eight years ago. In childish print, we heard echos of their younger voices pour off the page.
“Here are your 2012 letters,” I said, handing across folded handwritten sheets of paper. “For Morgan only” one of them read in green ink pen. They reached out eagerly, unfolding longer notes written from themselves just four years earlier, and silence dropped in the dining room. Daniel shuffled uneasily.
“Where’s mine?” he asked.
“You were only three years old then, but here is a photo of you from then,” I replied, unwrapping the accompanying photos, creased from four years in an envelope.
I confess I’ve been looking forward to this day for years and months! Unwrapping paper, we got to unwrap our lives from eight and four years ago. In time capsule format, we peeked back into who we were four years ago, seeing how we’ve changed and how we’ve stayed the same.
Taking turns, my kids read their letters aloud, their younger selves asking their older selves questions about what life is like now, casting imaginative questions from the past. “Do you have your own car? Are you living in your own house?” a twelve year old John asked his twenty year old self, and we laughed at what a third year college student’s life really looks like.
And then my favorite part began: a reflective silence fell as everybody grabbed pens and sheets of paper. Writing from 2016, they talked to their 2020 self, presenting life from this angle and wondering about life four years in the future.
Scribbling messy black words across blue lined paper, I wrote my own letter, summing up the last four years, and speculating about the next four. And it couldn’t fail to hit me. My choices now affect who I am then, and my mood turned more introspective as I continued to write.
Who are you now? Who do you want to be in 2020? And those answers start your trajectories…
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