It’s pretty strange how some things stand out in our memory and others are completely blacked out. I remember a day from preschool (age 3!) when my mother and other parents came into class and we peeled carrots. Weird, right? There aren’t any pictures of it or anything so I know its an actual memory. Then there are other moments I wonder if I actually remember. My preschool graduation, for example. The whole thing is caught on video, and I have definitely seen the video. So do I really remember it or am I just remembering the video? When I think about it I have visions of me ON the graduation stage and also of my teacher in the audience. Its like this weird mix of my actual memories and the memories of the video. I wonder if I’d even remember it if I’d never seen the video. Its like my brain just creates the memory and puts me in it. My mother was showing me a video of my nephew the other night when it occurred to me that because of our iPhones this baby has more footage of his 18 months of life than I have of my 28 years. The photos that exist of my childhood fit into one photo album – and the album isn’t even full! Forget about videos. I’m pretty jealous of my nephew. I wonder if he’ll have that same mishmash memory effect going on. Is he going to “remember” being at his first birthday? Crazy.

Unfortunately, I can’t go back to my childhood for additional footage. Lost memories are lost but I’m trying to make sure I remember more about the years to come. I recently completed a whole year of the 1 Second Everyday project I posted about last spring. I now have a year of my life smooshed into 6 minutes and 11 seconds. Sweet! I really love the video and I’m proud of myself for seeing it through. I did the project the way it was created choosing just one second for each day. It wasn’t that often that I had a hard time deciding which second to use. Some days I had just one video. Some days I had five or even 10 to choose from. Sometimes I woke up knowing what I would film that day. Sometimes it was spontaneous. Some days I had to seek out something to film. A few times, I missed filming something because I didn’t have my iPod or phone with me. Or I just didn’t feel like recording it. I think that as more and more people do this(this WILL catch on…) they will experience much of the same, even though everyone’s purpose and process for doing the project will be different.

 one of my favorite seconds of the year

For me, this isn’t much of an exercise in remembering everyday anymore. Plenty of things that I recorded could have happened on any day. And some days are jam packed with things I could want to remember. Some days I don’t want to remember at all. Other days, not much happened. The project never really forced me to do something interesting  like others may have said. What it did do was make me more aware of how, where, and when I spend my time.  It has really been more of a lesson in gratitude. A lesson in my values and what I find important and beautiful in this life. A reminder that even when life doesn’t seem that great, there is always something to take notice of. A lesson that time passes so quickly whether we are paying attention or not. A perfect reminder that each day counts just as much as any other day. And that everyday doesn’t have to be amazing…but too many quiet days in a row and it might be time for a change. And now I have this project, this video, this tangible documentary thing that shows what I did and cared about and noticed. A quick, clear, visual and audio representation of all the things I’ve done and seen. So freaking cool. I am a self-help, self-growth, personal development junkie and 1 Second Everyday has definitely added a new dimension to explore myself, my life, and my purpose. It provides such an interesting tool for self-reflection and gives such refreshing perspective on life and time. In 6 minutes, I can watch an entire year of moments that show how I got from there to here. It shows it all, too – the good, bad, exciting, boring, mundane, unexpected, routine, frustrating, beautiful. All of it. A “good” second gets the same amount of time as a “bad” second. A depressed month that I never thought would end is over just as quickly as an amazing life-changing month in Thailand. Watching just one year (a most recent one, no less) makes me feel this weird emotion that I don’t know a word for. I can’t even imagine how powerful something like this will be when there are several years to watch or when I am much older and look back on an earlier year. Yes, its cool and entertaining to watch other people’s videos. But the meaning of the project has really evolved after doing it for a year (just like I have, I hope). Its become less important for my video to look cool or be the best quality and more important for it to be authentic and representative of my life. It doesn’t matter if I have the “best” second as long as it is one that evokes a complete memory. I don’t want to spend all day with my iPhone out or miss out on an actual experience because I’m trying to film it. It doesn’t make much sense to me to film moments I can watch later if I’m forgetting to live in the moments as they occur today. That is a trade I’m not into, but I’m sure everyone will have their limits.

I think what I like so much about this project is that it allows me to remember things that I think I would forget. The audio/visual memory recall I have when I watch my video is almost unbelievable. A laugh, a voice, a sound. They go very quickly, but it is amazing how many details and feelings come along with just one second. If you think about it, we really don’t remember most of our lives. So much of our lives are simply forgettable. But everyone wants a more exciting, memorable life. Unfortunately, its real easy to get caught up in the small stuff. Such is life, though. Big things don’t mean anything without the small things, so really they both mean the same. It all counts and it all matters. Do the big, crazy things but still appreciate all the rest. I’ll take a reminder of that anytime and now one second a day is all it takes.

Check it out. And don’t worry, I finally figure out how to use an iPhone camera sometime in April 😉