When I was fifteen years old, I managed to acquire a fifth of vodka from a cook who worked at the restaurant where I washed dishes. Since I obviously couldn’t bring the vodka into the house with me, I stashed it at the woods at the bottom of my driveway (I live out in the country, so I was fairly certain that it wouldn’t be discovered by any neighbors, errant ne’er-do-wells, or children). Unfortunately, in my haste, I neglected to mark the place where I hid the bottle. For weeks afterward, despite repeated searches, the bottle never turned up. Eventually, I despaired, attributing its disappearance to my parents, a wild animal, or abduction by some hard-partying aliens. As the years went by, I came to doubt that the bottle ever even existed.
Over the past Christmas break, I was walking through the woods, and decided to make another pass through the area where the bottle was hidden. Looking around aimlessly, with no real hope of discovering anything, I caught a flash of blue underneath some brush. I rushed over to it and brushed away the leaves, uncovering a mud-caked bottle of cheap vodka. Cheering wildly, I brandished the bottle over my head like Excalibur, rejoicing at the sight of the sun shining through it. It was like a time capsule, except something I actually wanted. I’m now considering hiding gifts for my future self all over the countryside, to be discovered years from now when they’re needed most. I imagine my 50 year-old self strolling through the woods and stumbling on a retirement fund that I had hidden under a rock 30 years before. Maybe some strong drink, too.