Sunday, December 7, 2008

Time Capsule 2018

Time hasn't been a friend to me. Time didn't let me meet my true love and marry until I was 33. Time let me waste at least three years at a job I was unhappy at. Time let me fool myself into believing I could get pregnant in my mid-30s. Time let three years of trying to conceive slip away like greasy slimy eels. Time continues to deceive me on a regular basis, moving at lightening speed - aging me and my eggs - but then hitting the brakes for those ripe moments of waiting for betas to double or decline... waiting for your next IVF cycle... waiting for the heartache to stop... waiting for a god damn baby. So "Father Time" has been a real smart ass with me, playing with the forward and rewind buttons of my life with that "nanny nanny boo boo" taunt also known as "hurry up and wait." 

A couple months ago a friend of mine opened up his 12th grade time capsule. Enclosed he found remnants of his life as a teenager about to embark on the next stage of his life. He enjoyed this unsealing of the past so much that he sent a request to friends encouraging them to create a time capsule for 2008 that would be opened 10 years from now in 2018.

So I decided to play a little game of tag with Father Time. "You're it!" I say and see how fast you can catch me. Will it be 2018 before I know it? Will the ten years be a slow melodic dance or will I just be doing some aerobic hyper-speed-Flashdance-"She's a maniac"-running step the whole time? 

So I started to piece together my time capsule. I had my usual crafty fun making my collaged box to hold these precious elements of my present that will be buried for the future. Wrapped around the box I made a paper seal that I will break in 2018. But now that it's almost the end of the year, I'm having to finalize its contents to prepare for the final sealing. Among many things you are suppose put in this capsule, like letters from friends that you will open 10 years later, you also have to write a letter to yourself. Everything else required to put in the time capsule I can get done, but I've been really sitting on that letter to myself. 

Writing a letter to me, myself and I to be read 10 years from now somehow scares me. I am scared of what I will be in 10 years. I'm afraid to talk to that 47 year old self, imagining her from my current 37 year old miserable childless state. Do I hope, dream, and assume in the letter that by 47 I will be a mother? What words can I say to myself with the expectations that all this pain has made me blossom into a person I actually like at 47. But what if I open the letter at 47 years old and I am not a mother? What if surrogacy fails, donor egg fails, and for some insane reason I can't adopt? I feel like I have to put a footnote in the letter saying, "Well, if your worst fears have come true and you are still not a mother at 47, I guess all I can say is that sucks ass. We tried our best, and boy you must be so incredibly depressed right now reading this letter." The truth is that I am really operating these days like a shell of who I was 3 years ago, so I guess I am not sure what sort of monster I will be in 10 years if none of this pain and effort got me anywhere. But I know, I know, I know, that's so negative and defeatist. So hence, I'm stuck with not being able to write myself a letter. 

I'm hoping I hit a more inspired moment in these last weeks before 2009. I want to tell myself that I believe within 10 years new beginnings can happen. I want to really believe all this waiting will come to something. But there are so many times I feel like giving Father Time the finger for really fucking with my head, so much so that I am now afraid to hope for my 47 year old self. I am trying to convince myself that despite feeling like a stagnant lump through infertility that something has to be changing within me, in fundamental ways, that will someday reveal itself. I read that poem "The Wait" by Russell Kelfer and whether you believe in God or not, it did bring comfort. Especially this paragraph:

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So as I mull over the meaning of my particular wait, I read this poem every once in a while. I listen to "I am waiting" by the Rolling Stones, and I sometimes stare at the dictionary definition of wait. I can see the small nuances, especially in these two that stick out to me: 1. "to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized, (the chores can wait)" or 2. "to be ready and available (slippers waiting by the bed)." Most of the time I feel like #1, but I have to remind myself that at the same time I am #2 - I am ready and available, like slippers waiting by the bed.

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A TIME CAPSULE

On the outside
A container—like a coffee canister, lunch box, or shoe box—decorated to project your image.

On the inside (suggested not required)
Your container will hold the following things.
• a list: list the five words or phrases which you say the most often or which are your favorites.
• a sketch: write a sketch of your personality. (What kind of person are you now?)
• a newspaper or magazine: write your own notes and annotations in the margins.
• a page: finish this thought, "If I could change one thing about myself..." Why?
• a list: make a list of your favorite things and/or things that make you feel good.
• a thing: put something in here that you think will be valuable in the future.
• a confession: write a narrative about something from your past that you are a little ashamed of and that you feel guilty about. Tell how and why you did it. Tell how other people reacted to you and what you did.
• a forecast: predict the future. Describe what you think the world will be like when you open this.
• a story: write a narrative about something that happened to you in the last few years that seems important now.
• a scorecard: make a scorecard listing the goals you have for yourself in the next ten years. Record the date you think that you might accomplish this goal. When you open the time capsule, you can score yourself on how many goals you have reached.
• a code: write a code of beliefs for yourself. What do you believe in?
• a photo: include a photo of yourself now.
• a surprise: explain this project to five of your close friends. Tell them when you plan to open your time capsule. Ask them to write you a message and seal it in an envelope. (Your friends could include other things in the envelope, too, if they wanted.) Include these surprise messages in your time capsule.
• a letter: write a letter to the future you. In this letter give yourself advice from your point of view now.

5 comments:

alicia said...

oh wow! I am sooo doing this! What a great idea! thanks :)

good luck with the letter, I can imagine that would be hard. But I love that poem there, and you shoud include it in your letter, explaining why it was such a hard letter to write!

Lisa said...

I'll be hauling out some Stones to listen to tomorrow. I wish I had wise words to convey about why you have to wait or what good comes from waiting. But I don't. All I can do is hope that your dreams of becoming a parent come true very soon. You're on a path! Keep walking it! And when you look back in 2018, it will have all been worth it.

—Lisa from infertileground

Elizabeth said...

I love the time capsule idea. I understand how hard it is to write the letter. I became reluctant even to anticipate what the next year would be like, so I can't imagine trying to think about 10 years in the future. I hope you are able to find some inspiration.

the Babychaser: said...

This part of your post really blew me away:

"But what if I open the letter at 47 years old and I am not a mother? What if surrogacy fails, donor egg fails, and for some insane reason I can't adopt? I feel like I have to put a footnote in the letter saying, "Well, if your worst fears have come true and you are still not a mother at 47, I guess all I can say is that sucks ass. We tried our best, and boy you must be so incredibly depressed right now reading this letter.""

I don't even like to think that I have those fears, but reading them from you make me realize I fear that, too. I like to think of adoption as my sure thing back-up plan, but as with everything else, there are always risks.

I like the idea of a time capsule. I wonder if I'll have the guts to do it.

N said...

This is such a great idea. I always thought a lot about what my life would be like in a few years before we did the surrogacy, with the same fears and wondering as you are having. It intensifies the fear to think that your life will be the same as it is now, and it can be so terrifying. But however it happens, if you are open to pursuing multiple methods, there is just no doubt you will be a mom. One of my big fears AFTER the surrogacy worked was that I would still grapple with the IF pain forever more. I have to say, after being a mom for just 5 days, that I am amazed how fast the pain has drained from me. I know it is different for everyone, but I just wanted to encourage you that WHEN you become a mom (not if), you will emerge victorious over the pain you have now and it will not continue to hold you captive.