There’s a pretty cool website called futureme.org. I can’t remember how I came across it, but it allows you to time-delay an email to yourself. A little time capsule shows up on your doorstep just when you’d forgotten it existed.
In 2006, I wrote a note to myself for 2009. Last week I received the note that I wrote to myself in 2009. It reads:
Wassup? Don’t know if you’ll remember this one. You didn’t the last.
It’s June 2009. You’re about to move into your new home. You’re at 19 w 1 d. Don’t know the sex yet. Fatherhood, a home, they’re all just slightly more than an idea…
Writing, writing, writing. What to do? How to do it? I hope you’ve figured that out by now. Still struggling, to get motivated, figure out how to overcome the demons.
Hang in there.
“Wassup” aside, what’s remarkable about the message is that it captures a psychic state three years ago, that is unchanged today: anxiety about being a father, fear of adult responsibilities, tackling the obstacles of writing, and an underlying hope that these are obstacles that can be “overcome.”
I wonder if that’s the case. One thing that’s a struggle as a psychiatrist is the illusion of change, the Holy Grail of change, for that matter. To deny its possibility is to give up hope, and hope is a very powerful therapeutic tool. On the other hand, to pretend that we don’t have some inherent human nature is to ignore the obvious.
There’s a great video that captures transient global amnesia. It’s heartbreaking to watch (remember it’s transient!) but it also reveals something about our baseline personality, beneath all the mishmash of the day, the person we are underneath it all. I’m left wondering if this email, which seems so close to what I might write today (and am tempted to), will resonate again with me in 2015.
I guess what I’m saying is this: for each of us, life is a type of struggle. And while at various times the rhythm changes, overall the melody remains the same.