Exterior Condition

A vellum envelope was affixed to the outside of the time capsule. For the lucky individual who discovered it were two things inside:

  • A note requesting the time capsule be left unmolested & restored to its original location; and
  • Another envelope, this one self-addressed & stamped, which they could use to notify me of the discovery so my “Peter Tingle” would cease.

At the time, I affixed two 33¢ stamps to the letter as its postage, having consulted past history to estimate the amount required for future first-class mail (considering how 2020 went, I’m surprised the US Postal Service is still around). Since today’s price of a single Forever Stamp in 2022 is 60¢, I just barely covered the cost.

The letter was obviously never sent — which is just as good, as it was addressed to my childhood home that my parents no longer occupied (and has since been replaced by a holy-massive McMansion in true Southlake style).

Time Capsule

As many of you know, I once buried a time capsule.

And this past month, I opened it — 25 years later.

This is the first in a series of posts, where I’ll share the story behind this personal time capsule, its contents, and some of its curators.

The original plan was to open the time capsule on April 9, 2022, 25 years exactly from when the Bruce Hall time capsule was on-schedule to be unearthed. However, the universe interfered with many of these plans:

  • The Bruce Hall time capsule was fouled when groundwater seeped into it, destroying all of its contents. Much mellow was harshed!
  • Although I had planned a reunion to accompany the opening of my personal time capsule, years of crippling depression led me to abandon the plan.
  • By the time I’d recovered enough to at least open it with my best friend Jim, we had to push the date back two weeks for our schedules to align.

I know that some of you feel left out of the fun, having long-circled the original date on your calendars. For that, I apologize — I was barely holding it together for my family during the pandemic, so mustering the energy to organize a big social event was mentally-insurmountable. Hopefully these words and pictures are an acceptable substitute.

Below are links to descriptions of individual contents, which I’ll add over the next several weeks. So keep checking back for more.

It’s been a long enough quarter-century…let’s unlock it and get started!

I Gave Up

On New Year’s Day 2020, I quit all social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I trashed 13 years of networking & history so I could focus my energies more towards fostering in-person relationships instead of political doom-scrolling.

Immediately afterwards, two-thirds of my work team got fired, and the world went to hell. All physical get-togethers ceased, and we shifted to 100% virtual encounters, and suddenly every relationship required twice as much effort to maintain. I continued to abstain, hoping that things would quickly pass.

Now 20 months later, I’m tired, depressed, angry, and afraid — all at the same time. And until my daughter can get her own vaccine, I’m not willing to spend much time around other people (many of my co-workers & friends feel the same way). So I’ve relapsed and can once again be found on Facebook and Twitter.

You are welcome to judge or mock me, but be sure to give me a pass. Like many of you, I’m lonely and my soul has been worn down to a nub. Rejoining those sites is a play at improving my health, and hopefully I can better handle this latest bout of online participation. One change I am fostering is to follow fewer people, to be less concerned with my follower or like counts. I’m slowly adding back people as I adjust. You’re welcome to follow me back, but please don’t be offended if I do not immediately return the favor — I’m trying to find the best balance between signal vs. noise, and social media is unfortunately biased towards the unhelpful latter.

Stay safe!

Framing Priorities

On today’s “Before Breakfast” podcast, host Laura Vanderkam shared a great way to frame priorities.

Instead of asking myself yes/no questions, instead structure them as “Would you rather?” questions instead.

For example, don’t ask, “Do I want to hit the snooze button?”  Without an alternative, the answer may always be yes. Instead, I could ask myself, “Would I rather hit the snooze button — or get up and run?”

There’s no right answer — some days, it make sense to get a few more minutes of shut-eye. But since snoozing is invariably lower in quality than a good workout, the latter often wins out.

Fateful Decisions

While listening to last week’s Slate Political Gabfest, John Dickerson shared his answer to the following Twitter question:

A couple of ideas came and went in my mind, before I settled on sharing something previously-untold that had decades of consequence.

It was the last week of my senior year of high school. This was before texting or even email, so I was likely saying final goodbyes to lots of peers.

One of my classmates, a tomboy named Micha, was planning to immediately leave for summer school at Texas Tech. Up to that point, we were closer to buddies than friends, but we were acquainted enough that we decided to become pen pals.

That moment turned out to be the start of the longest friendship of my life, spanning 24 years until her untimely passing. It transcended mere friendship, as we felt & acted like siblings. Pretty darn trajectory-changing, if you ask me!