A Year of My Life
“I never want to forget another day that I’ve ever lived.” – Cesar Kuriyama
About a year and a half ago, I was made aware of a project its creator Cesar Kuriyama calls 1 Second Everyday. It’s a simple concept, but seeing his first video moved me in ways I did not expect. I couldn’t believe how this frantic glimpse into a stranger’s life could evoke such emotion in me. I thought, “what if I actually were to know this guy?” And then I thought, “what if I was this guy?” How amazing would it be to have this six minute record of my own year? I share many of the misgivings Mr. Kuriyama articulates when describing the inspiration for the project in his TED Talk. My whole life I’ve hated the fact that I couldn’t tell you something I did on any given day in my past. I was keeping a daily journal, but days would inevitably slip through. Pulling a camera out of my pocket for an instant every day was something I knew I wouldn’t have an excuse to put off or forget. When I first saw the project last March I resolved to immediately begin my own second per day video.
But for some reason I could not properly get into the habit. I would film every day for a week and then I would suddenly realize I’d missed a couple days. This wasn’t such a big deal because I knew it didn’t really matter when I started, because I would start eventually. For months it continued to be that way. Starting, stopping, justifying.
And then in September of last year something happened that put me in a bad place emotionally. I found myself suddenly unable to enjoy the day to day, despite my day to day being very special. I was on tour with my brother’s band, playing shows every night and getting to know my country again after a year away. I knew in my head that my life was wonderful, short, a gift meant to be enjoyed. But in my heart I was struggling to feel that. As much as I wouldn’t allow myself to admit it, I was depressed.
The funny (and by that I mean not funny at all) thing about depression is that it intensifies when recognized. I would feel terrible, and then I would feel worse because, well, “how dare I feel terrible? My life is good.” I was in the throes of this feedback loop when I remembered the one second per day project that I was still delaying. I thought about how the moments of those dark days were in themselves wonderful, beautiful. It was my own perspective that was distorting that simple truth. On September 28th I took out my camera and pressed a button twice, knowing that I would appreciate having that moment saved for me to look at later. On September 29th I did it again, and I continued doing it every day. I found myself looking forward to doing it. I found myself seeking images that were especially nice, and for the instant I had my camera out I knew that yes, this is a good moment. That daily positive affirmation became very important for me, and I knew that someday I’d be able to watch these moments and remember the day surrounding it and enjoy it, hopefully untarnished (or perhaps enhanced?) by the memory of the mood I was in.
I continued every day for a year and now I would like to share the result. I am pleased to report that my plan worked. I love looking back on days that I didn’t exactly love living at the time. And that’s a powerful feeling, because the other funny (read: not at all funny) thing about depression is that when it’s there, it does not feel like it will ever go away. But it does. It always does.
I know that talking about being depressed isn’t the coolest thing in the world. But I also know that helping people is the coolest thing in the world. That’s why I wanted to share with you not only the video I made, but the motivation behind it. Maybe someone will read this who doesn’t feel so good today, and maybe he or she will have a shiny new tool to use against that force so many of us don’t dare to admit we feel.
P.S. If you want to make your own video, Mr. Kuriyama sells what appears to be an amazing app that makes it very easy to do it yourself! I would totally buy it if I had a smart phone.