If I could turn back time
March 3, 2014 5:39 PM   Subscribe

What are the most awesome ideas for marking or celebrating time that you have either done or heard of? There are some criteria…

I’m looking for ideas that require years of planning to pull off and/or have to be done during a certain window of opportunity – because that is what makes them so awesome. I always seem to hear about these ideas AFTER my window of opportunity has passed, and I think, "Wow, that would have been soooo cool, but it's too late now."

Here are examples of the kinds of things I am looking for:
-taking a picture of your child every day of their life and then making a movie of the photos
-planting a tree in your yard each time you have a baby and watching it grow with your child or marking their height on the wall every birthday (something to come back to year after year)
-those ‘add a pearl/bead’ each year necklaces that people use to mark an anniversary/birthday

I want to hear about more of these ideas now and get started on one or two while my windows exist; I’m hoping to share ideas I can’t use with friends who can.

So, what are the most awesome ideas for marking or celebrating time that you have either done or heard of?

posted by NoraCharles to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen on Pinterest couples who, each year on their anniversary, take a photo of themselves holding the prior year's photo.
posted by DrGail at 5:43 PM on March 3, 2014

Best answer: I just saw a picture of this done last week. A father bought a copy of this book, and had his kid's teacher write in it every year. He gave it to his daughter at her high school graduation. Would be cool if you have kids.
posted by raisingsand at 5:46 PM on March 3, 2014

Best answer: On reddit today, someone posted a letter she had, as a 5th grader, written in 2005, addressed to her future self. Some questions about relationship status; many questions about tacos.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:59 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I was in school, my mom had a school memories type book. On the left side there was a space for your school picture. On the right it had some questions for the kid to answer. The right hand page was actually an envelope so report cards, class pictures, random keepsakes went in there. I wish I knew where it went. I'd love to see my old class pictures.
posted by kathrynm at 6:05 PM on March 3, 2014

Best answer: My daughter's birthday is in June. Each year, starting just after her birthday, I take all the photos I took the previous 12 months and make a photo album (using iPhoto). This take a while, so it's done in time for Christmas. I give a copy to each set of grandparents, and keep a copy myself. These annual books would be a total nightmare to make if I let them stack up, but having a five-month period during which I make them, with a deadline (and increasing shipping fees if I procrastinate too much) really pushes me to get them done. The grandparents would kill me if I missed a year, so there's that too.

My husband and I were married on an island, so every anniversary we celebrate on an island.

My husband and I also periodically write down predictions about our daughter, and seal them in an envelope. On the envelope we right the date for the prediction (e.g. "H.S. graduation") and the plan is to open them on the dates indicated and see how ridiculously off we were. (We haven't gotten to any yet, so I don't have a track record.)
posted by Capri at 6:24 PM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

If I could have a do-over, I would have kept a daily or weekly journal starting when my son was born. Nothing elaborate, just a sentence or two noting what happened that day, to help capture the fabric of daily living. It would have helped me remember some of those really cute things he did or said that I thought I'd always remember, but got lost over time.
posted by mama penguin at 6:33 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

The summer after I graduated college, I was really missing it so on a whim I decided to list in my journal all the things I remember hearing or seeing or smelling on a regular basis. Things like what song my roommate's ringtone was, the smell in the kitchen when my other roommate fried eggs in butter, the color of the plates in my friend's apartment, the part of the hallway floor that squeaked whenever you stepped on it, etc.

I enjoy reading this simple list so much more than anything else I've ever written in my journal. Those details really bring that time back for me. Perhaps you could try something similar to describe your kids/spouse/friends/whomever with each passing year?

Granted, I think this kind of list-making works best when you're feeling nostalgic for a time gone by, as opposed to a time you're still experiencing (so the opposite of what you asked for, but maybe it could still be useful).
posted by dean_deen at 7:41 PM on March 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Louis L'Amour mentioned in his autobiography that he kept a notebook in which he listed every book that he read, and when he read it. He was a voracious reader, and the list is impressive.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:15 PM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Simple, but in my immediate family we take a nice photograph of all of us every year around Christmas, and display them all together, in order, in a hallway. Sometimes if something big happened that year, we try to put that in the photo also (pose in front of something representing someone's new job, etc.). It's nice to see the progression, and remember specific years. We are really diligent about never missing a year.
posted by aka burlap at 9:14 AM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I started keeping track of every book I read (ok, so sometimes I leave out one or two especially embarrassing choices) in 2006. I really wish I'd started earlier, but as it is, I very much enjoy having the record. I read 50 to 70 books per year, enough that I wouldn't remember all of the titles without the list, so it's nice to be able to check what I have and haven't read, and I find that looking back over it reminds me of other things I was doing when I was reading certain novels. Tracking anything that way would probably have a similar effect--movies, music, whatever your thing is.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:02 AM on March 4, 2014

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