I read an article recently that told of a study measuring the happiness of people opening time capsules they had left for themselves 3 months earlier. In the capsule there were simple things reflecting the state of their lives at the time.
The happiness measured seemed out of proportion to the import of the items themselves. The study concludes that there is more joy to be found in simple things than we credit.
I think this tells a different story. I think it tells more of time and memory, and also the vitality invested in Things. The things of our lives remember our lives. And we forget. After 3 months we have forgotten what was immediate and true and complete at that time. We occupy now a new reality. A new now in its entirety.
Opening a time capsule, engaging with mementos, brings that other time back into the present layering one over the other producing a richness of depth, a “both this and” complexity that deepens our experience.
I think the forgetting in between is essential to that happiness, providing a gap to bridge between this now and that. Allowing the return to be a gift, a restoration that is also revelation.