A couple of months ago, I attended a networking event in Kelowna and the group was discussing the impact of design on everyday life.
But one young designer took it to another level.
He steered the conversation into the difference between letting our technology guide our lives or making a very conscious choice to design our lives every day.
I was struck by the profundity of his statement.
Life can become a routine.
Commute to work.
The job responsibilities.
More of the same.
The commute home.
Make dinner, walk the dog, let the mind sink into goo while watching awful TV.
Go to sleep.
And that’s when life starts to suck. We find little enjoyment in the mundane.
What if we made a conscious decision to make something about each day awesome?
What if we made sure we had one moment — or even one second — an event worth taking a picture or video of, writing about, remembering?
That’s the genius behind Cesar Kuriyama’s 1 Second Everyday app. The app, which is iOs ready, too, requires users to take one second of video every day, upload it to the app to create a snippet and eventually stitches all your seconds together.
“It allows me to easily reflect on my life and to look back at my decisions,” he wrote in 2011. “I start re-evaluating how I approached each day.
“After only a few weeks of compiling clips, I’m able to look at the video and identify instances when several days go by without anything remotely interesting or outside my typical routine occurring. It starts encouraging me to wake up & seize the day.”
Shoot. That’s been my goal for a long time.
So, when My American mentioned the app and thought it would be something I’d enjoy, I did the requisite research … especially since it’s a pay-to-use app after a 30-day trial.
First, I had to fall in love with the idea.
That didn’t take any time at all.
Then, I had to figure out how I’d get set back by the 99 cents the app costs.
I uploaded my first snippet on Aoril 18. It was an important day. We were having dinner in Post Falls, Idaho, with two my favourite people.
I didn’t hold the camera in landscape and a lot of it is blurry.
But it’s still one awesome second.
And if you know me well enough, you might expect many of my seconds in the last 13 snippets feature a certain idiot hairbag.
You’d be right. Shep is the biggest and brightest part of most of my days.
And as his days on this earth wind down, I don’t mind dedicating most of my seconds to clips of his life.
I could, I suppose, set up more than one timeline and have just one timeline for Shep and another for everything else. But no matter how I design a second of awesome in every day, chances are, he’s there.
The weeks ahead
The app has forced me to start designing my day.
On the odd occasion thus far, I have found an awesome second in the mundane … a glass of wine in front of the TV, tuned into the NHL playoffs … a night relaxing with a good book and a …
A glass of wine. I … uh … look, I live in the Okanagan. There’s some good wine here.
I have clips of My American with Shep (my favourite one yet), spring blossoms, sunrise over Okanagan Lake while out for a 6 a.m. run, Shep looking out over the Columbia River in Coulee, Wash., and Shep and I in the truck for a road trip (my second favourite).
At the end of one year, I will have six minutes of seconds stitched together. If I keep this up for 10 years, that’s an entire hour of awesome one-second snippets, turned into a movie of my life.
My app is set to remind me around noon that I have to get my 1SE done. It isn’t a stressful notification, not like an email notification when I sometimes think “oh good grief, what fresh hell is this?”
The reminder notification was an important feature to the app, according to Kuriyama.
He forgot to record a second.
“It torments me,” he writes, “but I learn a valuable lesson: when you’re not doing anything interesting, it doesn’t occur to you to capture the moment.”
As a photographer, I love capturing moments. In the long-term, my photography will let me have terrific memories of places Shep and I have been, wonders we’ve seen and moments we’ve had together.
And so will 1SE.
But in the short term, it’s a wonderful reminder to not just find the awesome in every day.
It’s also a reminder to make the awesome in every day.
Are you being awesome today? Or are you letting the routine take over?