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"This can’t be all there is" December 26, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation, life.

This post is about 2 months overdue, infact, ever since Aswin put up this post a few weeks ago. I really loved the idea of the Time capsule. I will write about my own views in a separate post and spend this post putting up notes from other people. Although its not open to viewing anymore, I urge you to visit here before you proceed.

The Time Capsule itself is realized digitally so that the maximum number of people can have access. It is organized around ten themes, chosen to illuminate different corners of the human experience. The ten themes are: Love, Sorrow, Anger, Faith, Beauty, Fun, Past, Hope, Now, and You. Each theme harbors an open-ended question: What do you love? What makes you sad? What makes you angry? What do you believe in? What’s beautiful? What’s fun? What do you remember? What is your wish? Describe your world. Who are you? People respond to these questions in five simple ways – with words, pictures, videos, sounds, and drawings. 

Until a few weeks back one could actually log in and read what others wrote – you could view the data for selected group of people. For eg : What 30-40 year old females from Mexico have to say about what makes them angry ? etc.

I spent a few hours ( quite a few hours ) reading what people had to say. And I was particularly interested in what people above 50 had to say about their past and their future. Here I paste some of those that I found quite insightful at some times, rather touching at others.

A male in his 60s in the United States

I remember when candy bars were only 10 cents. I remember a simpler time when people could leave their homes unlocked and not worry about it. Also when people could trust their elected officials not to constantly lie to them. When employees could actually trust their employer not to screw them over in the name of the bottom line. I remember when people could walk around after dark and feel safe. I remember my wedding day. The best day of the rest of my life with the best woman to spend the rest of my life with. I remember our first apartment together,our first house and most of all when we first adopted our two kids. Children are a gift from God. They are grown now and starting their own lives. I can now look forward to grandchildren to spoil as I get older. When I open this email to myself 14 years from now I’ll be 75. My wife Mary will be 78. We will be celebrating 50 years of marriage. And we will remember the best 50 years of our lives. 

A male in his 60s from Puerto Rico

Hello! This is the year 2006…I was born in 1945 then I am 61 now. It took me time, 10 years ago, to become computer litteracy familiar with…so now I can send this e-message. If you are reading this in 2020 or 2050 I guess I will not be alive at that time. My message is: whoever reads this please take into account that life is a very particular phenomenon on Earth, maybe it doesn’t exist on other places in the Universe and we have this unique tool to communicate thoughs and feelings. Do not forget beauty, peace, nature, believings, art, history… without those things life would be so colorless, so sad. And of course, the last thing left inside the Pandora box: hope !!! 

A female in her 60s in the United States

I am a 60 year old grandmother whose beautiful, smart, 18 year old granddaughter is a freshman in college. I remember when I was 18 and eagerly looking forward to the future. That future is now a reality and I am so thankful that God let me live to see her poised on the threshhold of what I pray is a happy and productive future. I hope she’ll instill in her children the same values that I have tried to instill in her. I still remember how wonderful my teen years were. It’s hard to believe that our world has changed so much since I was my granddaughter’s age. Life is wonderful! 

This is a female in her 60s in Edmonton AB, Canada

I just experienced my 60th birthday and I feel very optimistic of the many wonderful things to do, to learn and to share. No matter what the impressions of today’s society, each individual I meet, whatever age, has his or her own story. All the stories are interesting and expressive. I feel compassion and poignancy of these times. 

A male in his 50s in mayiladuthurai, India

my son and my daughter-in-law..one of the best couple in the world.i love them so much they are in U.S. 

Now this is funny – a male in his 50s in Ahmedabad, Gujrat, India


A female in her 60s in the United States

I just got home from having my hair streaked for the first time and found this time capsule. I had my hair done to make myself feel better as I wait for word of a surgery date for lung cancer. My wish for the future is that all cancers will be a thing of the past long before this 20 years is up. Besides my own diagnosis, I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer and a sister to lung cancer. I also wish for an end to heart attacks and heart failures in general. I have a lot of words remaining but I don’t know of any other way to express my wishes so I guess this is it. 

A sad one finally.

My name is <>. I am a 52 year old mother of four wonderful children. I have four grand children as well ~ they are my heart. Still ~ I am lonely. I am re-married for 17 years this past weekend. My husband does not bother with me in the biblical sense. He is a good man but never treats me as a woman. I am so so lonely. Why don’t I leave? I am not sure. Where would he go? He is my friend. I am lonely. I look for love in every set of eyes. (Not physically) I talk to the Lord. This can’t be all there is… please tell me there is more here on this earth then this. I feel my health going down the drain as I age. My heart is still seventeen. What is one to do? 

This one is not. A male in his 60s in United States

Know this about me, I am not a loser. I have walked through life alone holding other peoples hand so that they would get to where they want to go. And when they have reached their destination, I rejoiced in their freedom as they let go of my hand and continued their journey. I am a winner because I help others win their race. Now I continue my journey alone, Yahshua will hold my hands and take me to the place he wants me to be. And when I have climbed the mountain I can look back and hear the words “Well done my good and faithful Son”, you have left no trampled backs in your path. Know this about me, I am not a loser. I have never quit, only delayed, I have never fallen, only stumbled, I have never stopped, only paused, I have never lost sight of my destination, only stopped to help someone find theirs. I will mount on the wings of an Eagle and I will soar to great heights not to achieve fame, but to fulfill my Heavenly Father’s will. 

If there is one thing that stood out, it was that even the layperson out there manages to find great expression to his/her feelings and thoughts. Its probably the benefit of anonymity or just the thought that writing something that is to be read 20 years from now, by yourself or by someone who has access to your email ID then or perhaps by nobody ever brings out something special in us. When I set out to write, it really made me think in ways I never did before.



1. Patricia Zglinski - February 17, 2008

Regarding: “A sad one, Finally.”

It is me Patricia Zglinski. It is now 2 years later and I am still in the same situation and wondering the same thing. Is this all there is?

2. Sharath Rao - February 17, 2008

Ms. Zglinski,

Firstly, I must apologize for not having anonymized the extract ….I certainly meant to as I did with all others, but your name missed me.

As for your note about how nothing has changed over the years, I am sorry I really don’t know what to say.

3. Patricia Zglinski - March 8, 2008

That alright. Just thought I would share.
I was laid off 3 weeks ago. I have 37 years experience in the transportation industry. I have submitted at least 40 resume’s but to no avail.
I am about 2 weeks from eviction. No food, no vitamins.

What a life.

4. Harini - November 30, 2009

When life takes us down, and we are swimming into the realms of a whirlpool, we can always rely on Pandora’s box. The only way to go from deep abyss is up.

Ms Zglinski. I hope you held onto hope. And I sincerely wish that when you come back here, you have stories of a new chapter in your life. If you don’t, then it is time to start writing a new one.

Believe in hope. It’s what keeps the world going.

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