One year ago today, just after my 27th birthday, I moved to Sydney, Australia.
Right before I left a friend of mine told me about this app called ‘One Second a Day.’ The app, created by TedTalker Cesar Kuriyama, simply prompts you to take one second of footage every day. My friend encouraged me to download the app to document my year in Australia. “It will be so cool to look back on when the year is over.” He was right, it was cool. But it was also a lot more than just ‘cool.’ It was a reminder that life is never stagnant. It is always evolving and moving and changing. Looking back at an entire year of my life shrunk into a six-minute video allowed me to realise that everything I’d experienced in that year, from anxiety to sadness to joy and euphoria, changed and inevitably ended. It was all just a tiny speck, or a single second, in time.
Every day for that year, my only homework assignment was to take one second of footage every day. There were days when it was easy to remember. Usually, these were on the days when I was doing something photo worthy. But then there were days where it was difficult and I’d almost forget. There were the days I’d slept through my alarm, got to work late and wanted to come home and do absolutely nothing. But then I’d remember my project, so I’d sit up and force myself to either go out to make something interesting happen, or I’d force myself to see my surroundings in a different perspective. I’d ask myself, what am I going to miss about current situation? What can I capture that will spark a memory of this day? Taking a video every day allowed me to be deeply aware of my surroundings and check in with my emotions. It made me grateful for what I had at present because I knew at some point in the future I’d be looking at this video, somewhere else and with a whole different reality.
The more I did it, the more I allowed myself to realise that my current reality was always changing. This helped me greatly particularly on days when I felt sad or anxious. I’d open the app and look back at the all the videos I’d taken before and be able to point out many other days I’d felt the same. Then I’d also find all the videos where I was filled with joy and happiness. It shrunk the power of my emotion and allowed me to take it in stride.
I urge others out there to give this a go, even if it’s just for a month, even if you aren’t doing something drastic like moving to a new country. Watch how a simple task of taking a video of a single day changes the way you choose to live your days. Watch how it allows you to fully realise everything is in impermanent, including and especially your emotions.
If you’re curious, here is mine. The product of one second (nearly) every day for one year. It captures all the big worldwide moments (The terrorist shooting at Eagles of Death Metal concert in France, Justin Trudeau elected as the new Canadian prime minister, David Bowie’s death, Malcolm Turnbull winning the Australian election) to all the small, personal, exciting and also typical moments of daily life. Each of these videos brings me back to that moment, triggering an avalanche of memories. It seemed fitting to end the year watching the sun sink away on a beach in Indonesia.
What a year it’s been, I look forward to what 28 will bring.