my 23rd year in seconds

In 2011, a young woman recorded a second of every day on video. At the end of the year, she compiled all the clips, set them to music, and put the video online for friends and family. Although it wasn’t her intention, her year on record reached a global audience—including myself.

Her video inspired me. The idea seemed to give each of her days meaning and importance. In a way, it reminded me of The Happiness Project or the lyrics of Jason Mraz’s “Live High.” Almost immediately, I knew I wanted to create my own recording with the same idea, so on Feb. 1, 2012, the day I turned 22, I started filming.

The first few weeks were exciting and easy, but by the end of February, I found that my project had become more of a challenge. Usually, ideas of what to record came readily to me. At times, though, I really had to think about and remember to record my “golden” moments (which became less burdensome with the purchase of an iPhone at the end of March). Eventually, taking a video every day became routine, but—I have to admit—a few of my clips are last-second, end-of-the-day shots (and one is borrowed). Even so, every clip signifies something for me.

Together, my clips tell the story of my 23rd year, in which I hung up my cap and goggles; spent too much time at River Road Coffeehouse; completed my senior writing project (a book); graduated from Denison University; ventured to Jackson Hole in Wyoming for an internship and one, unforgettable summer; visited Lindsay in Colorado; celebrated with Adam and Jenny on their wedding day; went on the best backcountry camping trip with Laurel; drove from Wyoming to California (“en route” home to Michigan) to enjoy time with family and friends; relaxed Up North with my sister, parents, and grandparents; returned to Denison for Big Red Weekend; had thought-provoking conversations with some new friends and life mentors; said a difficult and teary goodbye to one of my best friends; rang in 2013 in northern Michigan with family; and flew down to Florida with my mom and aunt to visit my grandparents.

In hindsight, my project is what I thought it would be—a way to think about and celebrate the beauty of every day, the little moments that make me think and smile. In February, as I compiled my clips and put the finishing touches on my yearlong project, I found a quote (translated into English and attributed to German rapper Kurt Hustle) that perfectly sums up what this project means to me: “Life consists only of moments, but for me, every one is precious because, after all, those moments together are your life.”

This post is a modified version of what I wrote for TheDEN on February 28, 2013.

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