I Remember You

While looking through old, quasi-recovered files from the distant past the other week, I came across something that was a real time capsule: a document that was, from what I could make out, a collection of everything I’d written on that particular computer in the year 1999; notes to myself, emails to friends, an entire report for something I was working on, and so on. (Thinking back, I’m not sure it was everything everything; I’m pretty sure I was editing the newsletter for an arts group for a time and wrote stuff for that which doesn’t appear anywhere in the document. I might be wrong, though.)

It’s very strange, revisiting that document and seeing where my head was at, at the time, and also just the way I thought, back then. I don’t mean that in the sense of, “what was I thinking” but literally, the method and sequence of my thoughts. I had an shorthand in much of what I was writing, and a language and cadence that I can vaguely remember but which also very much reads like the work of someone else. There are moments I don’t see myself in, and others where I wish I was still that person; there are sentences I couldn’t even imagine writing now, and others that I can see every keystroke being typed in my head with a worrying clarity.

I can’t remember why I saved all of these things in one document at the time; I’m not sure if I meant it as a message in a bottle, an important document of a particular time in my life — ironically, nothing was really happening at that time for me, although everything felt so filled with possibility — or simply that I was being particularly anal for reasons that didn’t exist beyond maybe this will be useful someday for some reason. Reading it all over 25 years later, when I’m literally twice as old as I was when I was writing it, feels like a message from the past that helps put everything in perspective, and reconnect with at least one of the whos I used to be, at the same time. It’s sobering and welcome at the same time.

Hello, whoever I used to be. Hope I don’t disappoint you too badly.

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