Life lessons one second of video every day is teaching me to notice all the tiny precious seconds, like grains of sand in an hourglass, passing by in my life—never to be experienced, seen or known again in the same way.
Let me first back up and tell a little story of the evolution of this. My dad was a photographer on the North Shore of Oahu. In the 1960’s, it was a bigger deal than it is today, involving a lot of heavy, expensive equipment and a tiny, red-lit darkroom, filled with the smell of chemicals, trays of mysterious solution, and clotheslines criss-crossing the ceiling, hung with images of waves and surfers slowly appearing like the most ephemeral magic. I had an early childhood filled with beautiful images because of his work, and I had an artistic knack which I expressed in writing and drawing—but I didn’t like the technology of photography, the clunky stuff you had to carry, the many processes.
I didn’t discover my own love of photography until my first iPhone came along and I found a way that technology suddenly worked for me, fitting my aesthetic with a tool that my artistic eye could use to easily capture, share and express my love of nature and the world around me.
One Second Everyday is the second time technology was able to open my life to a fuller experience. I have a Facebook friend, Ryan Ozawa, a guy who lives on Oahu (@hawaii on Twitter) He posted his OSE annual video in January 2014. I was totally entranced and brought to tears by a glimpse of this man’s life and family, a life I hardly knew…and I knew I wanted that experience too, whatever it would mean. And damn if the phone app wasn’t only .99 cents!
I couldn’t cue it up fast enough, and the seamless transition between taking my video shot and choosing my second each day was totally easy and intuitive.
And then the lessons began.
What was a worthy second each day? That question began to arise in my mind when I saw my first one-month compression of one-second snippets. I began to think about what I wanted to make sure to record, because once I saw how the images flowed into each other and jogged my memory, I knew I was telling a story with these bits of video.
Who was this record for? Just me, or for my friends, fans and followers? That began to haunt me as well, and the answer that emerged was, “both” because I’m choosing to live a transparent life shared with others through my work in writing and photography. This was a good insight to have, one I know I wouldn’t have discovered as clearly about without the lessons I was learning through One Second Every Day.
What about those days when there was no good vista or excitement? I decided then, that a picture of the ordinary was also important, like the view from my dentist’s chair, or my dogs coming up to be petted. Most of our lives are made of those ordinary moments—but with a little thought, even they could be framed beautifully and should still be experienced deeply.
What about the lost days? Oh, those lost days. The app doesn’t let you make them up. The days I forgot to take my one-second remain, empty as broken teeth in the grid of the calendar. It felt harsh, unfair, grievous even that I couldn’t pull something from the past, plug in something from the future—and that was the greatest lesson of all from a philosophical standpoint: we are only ever here NOW, in this moment, and there are no do-overs. The empty boxes of missed days hang there, reminding me that no one day EVER COMES AGAIN and to make the most of the precious time.
I love the app for its harsh adherence to this and the lesson it carries.
What about the days filled with so many gorgeous moments that it’s hard to choose? My husband’s 60th birthday was one of those days: a luau potluck on the side of Haleakala, God graced the occasion with a truly stunning sunset that went on for spectacular hours. Friends and well-wishers filled the evening with memorable love. Bubbles blown by children floated by in front of a Technicolor sky. Guests milled and visited and our children gave their father a heartfelt toast over the birthday cake—and I chose that one second to save, from so many worthy of it. There are tears in my husband’s eyes as his son puts a hand on his shoulder and a daughter sniffs beside him and they say, “we’re privileged to share your life.”
That second of time is in my one-year compilation, because of all the beautiful seconds of that special day, it’s the moment I most want to remember and see again: better than my already-hazy memory, overwhelmed as it was by emotion.
Now, someday when it’s fading, I can experience it again. I can't wait to see all the seconds in my whole year, but it won't compile that for me until the year is up!
Yes, some days are so golden, so fruitful and amazing, that it’s tough to choose a second to keep…but the good news is, I now have a lot of video clips that I’d never have thought to record because of One Second Every Day and the gift of a more fully-lived, conscious life that it’s brought me.
What about the bad days? The day my Chihuahua was attacked by a pit bull, and many others I’d rather forget—I took a second of video anyway, and now, woven in the tapestry of the whole, the bitter is somehow made sweet. Thinking about it, seeing those moments and how small they are in the totality of a life well-lived, brings tears to my eyes.
Cesar Kuriyama is the young man who developed this app. His story is so inspiring— heard a Ted talk on The Power of Time Off, decided to take a year off to have experiences, and got the idea for the app. He DID ALL OF IT, including becoming a Ted speaker and raising funds through Kickstarter to make the app. In so doing, he brought more joy and deeper experience to others and showed by his courage that dreams come true.
I invited Cesar Kuriyama to my blog to share a little more on how being true to his dream has changed him, and perhaps how it might be evolving. He’s a very busy man, but we corresponded and he answered these questions, just for my readers!
Were there times things looked dark, and it seemed like hubris that your dreams could actually happen?
Many dark times. The one that immediately comes to mind is one I forgot about until the day the day I turned 31. Back on my 31st Birthday, I received an e-mail… from ME… that I completely forgot sending to myself, during a dark day in my life 2 years prior, while my life was a mess, and I was still working in a soulless advertising agency.
Here is the e-mail and the post about it: Cesar’s letter to his future self
What were the lessons there?
There are plenty of dark/terrible times in my 3.5 years of recording 1 Second Everyday so far… and 1SE constantly reminds me that every single time… I get through it… and things get better.
THANK YOU, Cesar, for your courage and passion, and this gift of One Second EveryDay!
and for my readers, a couple of my month-long compilations. I can't wait to see the whole year!
One second in Mar 2014