It’s not very much to look at. It’s a tan and green shoe box that once held a pair of hiking boots. It’s sealed with green duct tape and bears the inscription: To be opened: March 9, 2018. Sealed May 24, 2008. May 24, 2008 was one week after my high school graduation. March 9, 2018 will be my 28th birthday. The box is my time capsule, a scrapbook of my life from age 13 to 18, with letters from myself, trinkets that I wanted to save, and memories I never wanted to forget. I sealed it when I was 18, with the intention of opening it ten years later. But now I’m curious.
I remember some of the things I put in the box during those years—pictures, dreams of the future, happy thoughts—but it’s the things that I don’t remember that intrigue me. And now, here I am, four years after closing the box and putting it on the highest shelf in my closet, wondering what’s inside. In 2012, I’m a very different person than I was in 2008. I’ve lived more life, gathered more wisdom, made more grand plans. And yet, just like four years ago, I’m about to head off to a new school on a brand new adventure. I have faith in my abilities and confidence in my success, but it’s still nerve-wracking. And I want to know what my 18-year-old self has to say about it.
But I’m not supposed to open it now! I’m supposed to wait six more years until I even dare to touch the box, let alone take it off the shelf. But what would be the harm in opening it now and taking a stroll down memory lane? Afterwards, I’ll write a new letter to myself and seal it again until AT LEAST 2018. The only promise I’m breaking is a promise to myself. But then again, if I can’t keep promises to myself, what good am I? Although I did promise myself to stay away from Target and I’m 17 days clear. So good for me! That should count for something, right? Is remembering what I put in a box four years ago more important than keeping a date with destiny? (A tad dramatic, but I’m trying to tap into my 18-year-old psyche to see what she would say.)
Dear 18-year-old Hannah:
May I open the box six years early if I reseal it for 2018? I could use some of your wisdom at this time in my life and an old journal just isn’t cutting it right now. Just give me a sign.