• Mallory Garber

Corona Calls for Capsules

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Create memorable relationships with the future. Build a living history time capsule. Your experience matters, don’t let it go to waste.

As I sit here writing this blog in an N95 mask, flinching every time I hear a cough or sneeze, I can’t help but think, 

“how did we get here?” 

Never in my life would I have thought my most judgmental thoughts would be towards those who do not wear a mask that covers their nose. Who have I become? Who have we become? We as a society have undergone an extreme change in the way we live our day-to-day lives in such a short amount of time. Covid-19 has made a larger impact on our world than any of us could have imagined. It’s like we are characters of the latest dystopian movie where the plot line stems from a pandemic changing everyone’s lives. If that were the case, directors can you please call “cut?” I think we are all a little tired of this scene.

As scary as it has been, not everything Covid-19

has brought us has been necessarily bad. The human race has a funny way of entertaining themselves. One of those ways is making time capsules….and banana bread. 2020 has had the largest spike of registered capsules with the International Time Capsule Society since 2000. This organization was established in 1990 to encourage the intricate study of time capsules. Its essential goal is to document all types of time capsules throughout the world, and right now Covid capsules are the star of the show. Like most things during quarantine, time capsules have become something that of a trend, except this one is timeless.

Having actually had corona, I can personally say I will definitely be capsuling my experience. At the time I was living alone in Miami and had to isolate myself for 14 days away from my friends and family. As painful as it is to reminisce on my solitude, I never want to get rid of my momentums. I can still recall the day I received my test results. I remember reading them and thinking there must be some kind of mistake, only to realize there are not many ways to interpret “COVID-19: POSITIVE” in bright red colors. When it finally sank in, I sat on my couch defeatedly thinking, “what now?” Thus began my two week isolation…how fun!?

My camera roll is filled with bored selfies and making fun of myself for not being able to taste the beautiful dinner I “cheffed” up for myself out of pure boredom. I even started writing a quarantine journal, explaining how I felt every day and what I did with my time alone. I was actually a lot more productive than I thought I would be. I learned how to make baked brie! And it tasted amazing…I think (I made it a month later so I could taste it and can confirm it was indeed great). I learned a lot about myself during that time through plenty of books and music. My isolation happened during a time that I conveniently needed to work on myself and grow, and corona gave me the time to do that.

I can’t wait to look back when this is all behind us and be able to compare my experience to when we knew nothing about the virus. We are just in the beginning of our understanding for Covid-19. Think of all the knowledge and power we will have however long from now telling us all the things we did not know. It is important to acknowledge how vital the time we are living in is for our history. It’s a crazy concept to think our society will be in textbooks one day, but that is the reality we are living in.

Time capsules give us a way to humanize our experience and create relationships with the unknown future. Think back to the Spanish Influenza in 1918. Imagine if they had the technology we have now. As morbid as it seems, all we have to look back on that horrific experience is old print and faded, black and white photos. When people hear about Corona 100 years from now, I want to be more than just another number. People should know what we went through on a personal level, not only to carry on the legacy of ourselves, but prepare them for anything that could happen like this again. “Time capsules allow us to step back from our complex and often overwhelming present to sketch its essential outlines,” says Nick Yablon, author of “Remembrance of Things Present: The Invention of the Time Capsule.” He goes on to explain that, 

“By adopting the perspective of the future recipients, we acquire a kind of distance from the present that allows us to attempt to summarize, or historicize, it.”

It is comforting to think that my own story could make a situation feel less scary for someone I don’t know. While there are many things Covid has taken from us, there are many things it has given. A reason why time capsules are so important during this time is to remember the good along with the bad. It is easy to get lost in all the media and bad news, but your own experience should tell you enough about what you are going through. There are plenty of things that are easy to capture during this time.

Family Fun After being sent home from school to live with my parents again, I experienced a lot of family time. For the first time in four years, all three of my sisters and I were in the same home. As bothered as we were to be disrupted from our busy lives, I had never seen my mother more happy. If there is anything this virus has done for us, it was bringing us closer together. My sister put together a quarantine documentary, including all the videos of us acting like complete freaks after being confined indoors for the first two months. Even my dog was annoyed with us. We watch that documentary now, and laugh at how crazy we were. Being with family during a time filled with maybes became my only definite.

Unexpected Hobbies My Covid-19 isolation prompted me to engage in some unexpected quarantine-induced hobbies. Before Corona, the only thing I knew how to work in the kitchen was the oven and microwave. Sad right? I decided with all the time on my hands I should act like the young adult I am and learn how to cook. When I came back to school, my roommates walked in on me in the kitchen, their faces in shock. I don’t think they had ever seen me with a pan in my right hand and an actual appealing aroma surrounding it. I was also determined to start yoga during this time. I made it my goal to actually touch my toes and meditate without losing focus every 5 seconds. These minor hobbies have seriously impacted my daily routines for the better.

Self Discovery I think this time has made everyone come to terms with how they are feeling in one way or another. Why not document it and look back on how you were feeling in such an overwhelming time? I can personally say I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the past 5 months and the best way to cope with it is by journaling. Who better to listen to your thoughts than yourself? Use this time to become a better version of you and learn from your past.

We live in a time where everything we do is digitalized. Technology has given us a way to adapt to a life with Corona. Not only are our memories online, but social gatherings, work and school. There is no better way to store your capsules during this time than online with NotForgotten. They eliminate the risk of your capsule becoming one of the many lost causes that get buried in the ground. Creating a time capsule during Corona is essential for our history and creates emotional closure in the process. There is something that feels very wrong about the idea of forgetting this time period.

Another important perspective to hear from during these unprecedented times is your children. We know what a “normal” childhood looks like and this is not it. The developmental stages for a child should be controlled and routine, not chaotic and confusing. Recording their experience now could help both them and future generations. Right now, they don’t know any different. Their innocence preserves their ignorance and youth, making them oblivious to the obvious changes in their lives. Graphic designer and mother, Natalie Long, has created “My 2020 COVID-19 Time Capsule” worksheets as a fun and creative way for kids to get involved. Give them the opportunity to look back and learn from their childhood during such a drastic change in society.

If there is anything to take away from this blog it is to realize how important you are and how much your experience matters. Give yourself some credit, you have been through a lot. Reward yourself by looking back and seeing how far you have come. Covid-19 is a prime example of how quickly we are able to adapt to a new normal, showing us how fast things can change. Life is full of surprises and it is important for us to not only embrace them, but remember them forever. Face this virus with a smile (under your mask of course) and embrace what the future has to offer. 

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