After being inspired by a TED talk and a mock film festival at my ad agency, I decided to record a second a day out of my life for a limited time. I began on March 20th, 2013, and decided to end after recording sixty days, or sixty seconds worth of film. These are mostly just random moments, but I believe personal history is valid, and this became a kind of video journal project. So much had happened in the previous year: a new job for my husband, followed by a new job for me, a new house for our family, our son starting therapeutic school, and the passing of my father. I began to realize that our lives are made up of these big milestones that sometimes sneak up on us without our realizing how one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re dealing with nearly a whole new life for your family. But that life is also made up of tiny moments of simple beauty and the mundane.
It may or may not be apparent, but this project includes film some milestone events, including:
- A clean MRI for my son with epilepsy, followed by a clean EEG, allowing us to begin to taper medication he’s had since infancy
- A sisterhood ceremony after the unexpected death of a friend I knew through Mormon feminist circles
- Meeting my newborn niece for the first time
- The last days of my time at my ad agency job, as I begin a new job next week with more work-from-home flexibility
But it’s not just the big things that I found worthy of recording here. My life includes the mundane, the pensive, the relaxing, and the simple sublime:
- Conversations at lunch
- Meetings at work
- Driving my 2.5-hour daily commute
- Dropping my son off at his school for children with autism
- Listening to a choir sing on Easter
- Meditating at my dad’s graveside
- Watching robins dance and tulips come up in my new yard
By putting myself behind the lens, even if it was the camera of what I call the “stupidest smart phone ever,” I encouraged myself to take a step back and see how I view the world in my unique way, that I choose to value these social connections and delight in the dance of a toddler over the larger historical events that I could have recorded. I am an intuitive person by nature, which means that my internal and intellectual world is usually much more entertaining and inviting than the external one. That’s why I think it’s all the more important that I kept this visual diary of my life, that I can return to see how it felt to swing in that hammock and watch the light dance on my dress as it came through the new tender aspen leaves, or I can remember what it felt like to be held by my husband on a Saturday afternoon, or to discuss career options with dear friends over a weekday lunch.
What would your visual diary look like?