About 11 years ago, my family and I put together a time capsule, which we planned on opening on New Year's Eve, 2009. However, due to the father dear and sistertraveller being out of the country, we had to postpone opening our time capsule until New Year's Eve 2010.
When we opened it, most of it was rather disappointing, to be honest. The letters that the sistertraveller and I had written to our future selves were decidedly dull (although, to be fair, we were only 11 and 13 years old, respectively), and we had included an odd assortment of trinkets in the time capsule packet (including a random tooth. Ew?). But even though the letters we had written were on the boring side, there was still something very important about them: the rhetoric within them represented much of who we were at that period in our lives.
My letter revolved around talking about the gifts I'd received for Christmas, a list of my friends' names, and mentions of how much I enjoyed playing Harry Potter. It may have been a naive, innocent, very cheery letter, but that reflects who I was at that stage of my life, and that's what's important.
We evolve and grow rapidly as the days, weeks, months, and years go by. Keeping a diary or constructing a time capsule can be a way to preserve that and to remember how far we have come, and to give us hope for where we will be in the future. The rhetoric of a time capsule speaks volumes and can be fascinating to both put together (and thus imparting a piece of your present self) and to "take apart" (and thus extracting a piece of your past self).
After opening the time capsule, my family and I decided to put together another one to open in five years. This time, our time capsule is only consisting of a letter that each of us wrote (with predictions on where we will all be in the next five years) and a series of photographs... as well as a bottle of wine, so that it can "age" in the next five years and be cracked open to drink a toast to our past, present, and future.
I'm certainly not as naive and innocent as I was at age 11 (although I think a large part of me is still equally as cheery), but I wouldn't trade the last 11 years for anything. There's been bad times and good, and all of them have contributed to building me into who I am today. We can't grow without experience to guide us. There is much value in the rhetoric of re-aquainting ourselves with the past, being comfortable with the present, and making plans for the future.