Your Personal Time Machine

Hannah Webb, Staff Writer

If you’re at all like me, you have absolutely no memory of what kind of kid you were in first grade and can only hope that you weren’t supremely annoying. You probably also don’t remember your first Christmas either (and if you do, you were definitely dropped in a can of toxic waste like Spiderman and possess some otherworldly supernatural powers), and you most likely couldn’t care less about remembering those memories either.

Up until last week, the way I used to be when I was six or seven was the last thing on my mind. Then, one night while I was doing homework, my mom walked into my room with a smile on her face, holding the old camcorder my parents used to record the many and prestigious accomplishments of my early years: elementary school choir concerts, spelling bees, and that one time in fourth grade when I danced to “Ice Ice Baby” in the talent show (yes, I did that).

Because I hadn’t seen the camcorder in years, I was naturally curious as to why she was bringing it to me now. She explained that she’d been cleaning her closet out and had just re-discovered the camcorder after not knowing where it was for years.

My mother sat down next to me and began showing me a video of my father that I couldn’t remember seeing before. He was in the car, driving to the hospital to see me after I had been just been born. He was talking to me in the video, explaining that he was “on his way to see me.”

After that first video, I couldn’t put that old camera down. I watched family moments and activities ranging from my first Christmas to my mom and I practicing for one of my first grade spelling tests.

It was hands-down one of the most fascinating things I had ever seen. Looking back on moments that I had no memory of with my relatives (some of which had been gone for years) was so eye-opening for me.

I decided then and there that I wanted to continue the tradition my father had started for me on his way to the hospital. The idea slowly coalesced in my mind, and I became convinced that even if it was just small moments with family or friends, I wanted to have something to look back on in years. I wanted to be able to see, in the future, how I’d looked, acted, carried myself, and spent time with the people I loved.

That night, I grabbed my phone and recorded a video of myself, talking about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish by doing it. I put the video on my computer in a separate folder and labeled the file with the date. Since then, I’ve recorded two more clips, each of various moments with my family and friends. The moments weren’t particularly special, and the videos were only a few minutes each, three at the maximum.

Really, I only want to encourage any of you reading this who are particularly nostalgic like I am to make your own way of remembering your favorite memories. It doesn’t have to be video recordings. It can be photos, writing, creating a playlist, or anything that helps you look back on the moments of your past that you’re most proud of.

It’s more than just reflecting on your past; it’s recognizing the moments you’re most proud of in your life. It motivates a positive state of mind, a commodity of which many of us are perpetually on the journey to achieve.