Ben Borgers

One Year Ago Email

July 3, 2022

Every morning, I get an email from a bot that I created. The bot sends me links to my journal entries in past years.

When I check my email first thing in the morning, these are some of the first things I read. They’re pretty short, and it feels good to get them out of the way.

I built this email because I really enjoyed reading my past journal entries and uncovering memories I’d forgotten about, but I realized that I was never going to read them all.

So instead, I decided that I could read them all back one at a time, so eventually I’d get through them all. It’s a really nice way to reflect on what’s changed in a year’s time and what hasn’t. I guess it’s kind of like spaced repetition for my life.

As a bonus, I’ll attach the code that I wrote to make this work. It’s part of a Laravel app, so it’s written as a job in Laravel that’s scheduled for every morning at 6am.

The code, if you’re interested:


namespace App\Jobs;

use Carbon\Carbon;
use FiveamCode\LaravelNotionApi\Query\Filters\Filter;
use Illuminate\Bus\Queueable;
use Illuminate\Contracts\Queue\ShouldQueue;
use Illuminate\Foundation\Bus\Dispatchable;
use Illuminate\Queue\InteractsWithQueue;
use Illuminate\Queue\SerializesModels;
use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Mail;
use Illuminate\Support\Str;

class SunriseMemory implements ShouldQueue
    use Dispatchable;
    use InteractsWithQueue;
    use Queueable;
    use SerializesModels;

    public function handle()
        $start = new Carbon('2019-12-01');
        $date = now()->subYear()->timezone('America/New_York');

        $entries = [];

        while ($date->gt($start)) {
            // Only passing the date (without time) to the "equals" filter for all day
            // (per
            $filters = collect([
                Filter::rawFilter('Date', ['date' => ['equals' => $date->format('Y-m-d')]]),

            $entry = \Notion::database('b37090dcd7164837b461dd17afa01034')

            if ($entry) {
                $entries[] = $entry;


        $firstEntryDate = $entries[0]->getProperty('Date')->getContent()->getStart();
        $firstEntryDateCarbon = new Carbon($firstEntryDate);
        $ageOfFirstEntry = $firstEntryDateCarbon->diffInYears();
        $ageOfFirstEntryWord = ucfirst(
            (new \NumberFormatter('en', \NumberFormatter::SPELLOUT))
        $years = $ageOfFirstEntry === 1 ? 'year' : 'years';

        $firstEntryTitle = $entries[0]->getTitle();

        $subject = "$ageOfFirstEntryWord $years ago: $firstEntryTitle";

        $body = '';

        foreach ($entries as $entry) {
            $title = $entry->getTitle();
            $entryDate = $entry->getProperty('Date')->getContent()->getStart()->format('l, F jS, Y');
            $entryId = Str::replace('-', '', $entry->getId());

            $body .= "$title ($entryDate):$entryId";
            $body .= "\n\n";

        Mail::raw($body, function ($message) use ($subject) {
            $message->from('', 'Sunrise');