It’s November, and the mantra for many during the 30 days of this month is to pay closer attention to living with gratitude and being thankful. What is it that we are thankful for? Why are we thankful? Who are we grateful to?
Something I have been forever grateful for is time. I appreciate the time I can spend with others, as well as the time I can spend by myself.
The idea of time, and how it can be limited, has been especially apparent in the past month. Sadly, there have been a few deaths in my family: my wife’s 101-year-old grandmother, my mom’s 92-year-old Aunt, and one of the most devastating — because of her age — my wife’s 44-year-old sister in law.
Cherish Each Second of the Day
Naturally, when these events happen, it’s easy to think about the idea of time. Did we spend enough with those that passed? Do we spend the right amount of time serving others and being productive? Do we take the time for self-care to replenish ourselves?
Do we cherish the time we’ve spent today; the hours, the minutes, the seconds?
I recently heard about 1 Second Everyday. It’s an app that stitches together one-second video clips (as many as you choose) into one single video. One single second does sound a bit fleeting? It probably seems impossible that that split second could even begin to capture the emotion and depth of the situation. But surprisingly, especially when joined together with several other clips, it does just that.
Stitched together with other seconds, perhaps 30 for the entire month, or 90 for the past three months, or 365 for the entire year and those one billion nanoseconds (which equals one second) are a perfect capsule of those days.
At the time I found the app, I was looking for something to help document/journal my days. I was looking for something that would make it easier and take less effort with what always seems to be so difficult for me to keep up. It seemed any time I got into journaling I would stop because “it took too much time.”
A Tool to Inspire Creativity and Memory
One Second Everyday was a solution but developed into so much more. It forces me to not only create daily content (because it really isn’t that much effort), but it also encourages me to truly identify something significant from the 86,400 seconds I spend during a 24 hour period.
There has been a mad dash toward goodies falling from a pinata, a cute turn of the head from my dog, a friend jumping toward me, my daughter amazed by the size of the shave ice we ordered, a bride walking down the aisle, and many, many more.
This was supposed to be a simple video journal but has become a way for me to cherish a minuscule moment of my day. And when I look back at the mashed together result of several one-second clips, there is a joy I experience every time, no matter how many times I watch it; like the feeling people have watching their wedding video over and over, or some other moment that brought them joy.
Making Note of the Good, Bad, and Ordinary
Cesar Kuriyama developed the app with the idea that documenting his life should be easy.
“I’ve recorded at least one second of video every day for over six years. At age 36, I now have a 36-minute video documenting every single day of my life since I turned 30. I haven’t forgotten a day since I started and if I live to see 80 years of age, I will have a 5-hour long video that encompasses 50 years of my life. This is the journey of why I got started, how the project has evolved, and a few notable checkpoints along the way.”
He also believes that documenting our lives should not be solely focused on the polished “good days” that social media tends to focus on. In this Ted Talk from 2012, he tells a story about the few days his sister-in-law was in the hospital. He pasted together seconds from each of those days, and you could see the grief and worry on his family members. There were shots of her in her hospital bed, with tubes and machines hooked up to her.
Looking back at his compilation from those days, it reminded him that “we tend to take our cameras out when we are doing awesome things, but rarely when we have a bad day.” However, combining the bad stuff with good helps you appreciate those good times.
One Second Everyday is not a video editing program. Aside from having the ability to grab that one-second clip, there is no further editing. There is no HDR filter, no ability to do a fade sequence or add music. You cannot change the volume of a clip.
It’s raw and unedited. It goes from one day to the next. The same way we go about our lives.
One Second Sparks a Memory
Our days are filled with so many moments that come and go so quickly we cannot possibly remember all of them. But if you can document one moment, it can trigger the others that surrounded it.
When I watch the clip of my mom at a hat store, it reminds me of going to different stores helping her find the perfect hat. The clip of my daughter grabbing a plate of sushi and showing it to me reminds me of having lunch with my parents and then eating ice cream afterward. And clinking a beer glass with my dad reminds me of the dinner we had the day before my parents’ visit ended.
What memories of an entire day, or even a person, would come back because of a single second you were able to relive?
Documenting one second seemed like something interesting to do. But, for me, it’s become an important way to remember the past.
Photo by Elliot Teo on Unsplash