Last year I came across Cesar Kuriyama’s one second everyday video where you see his triumphs and struggles after quitting his job and turning 30. I’ve always wanted to “live a better story,” but I’ve never known what it looked like in practice.
This was the perfect opportunity. A visual record that I’d look back on 10 years from now. Should I stay home and watch TV or go out and be social? A much easier choice. I also wanted to work on being in the moment, but having a way to remember things in an authentic and non-disruptive way. Also, everyone records and shares their most interesting and memorable moments, but never the bad. I’ve learned that tough times help me appreciate the good times more so they have value too.
It was an interesting project.
"3, 2, 1 - Happy New Year!" People stumbled and cheered and I immediately had a sense of relief cover me. January 1st, 2014 meant that I no longer had to record a "second of the day." Seriously, I celebrated on the inside. Documenting everyday had some unintended effects.
In the beginning of the year, it definitely forced me to do more. See more people, go to more parties, more events. More eventually started to burn me out. Instead of living a better story for myself, I started to become too aware of what I was doing because who would watch it. I didn’t want to disappoint my future self. I didn’t want people to think I drank too much. I didn’t want to appear boring. Some nights I just wanted to stay home and I forced myself to go do something. Whether or not that’s the right decision is up for debate. I felt guilty for the times that I just wanted to stay home, zone out, and be quiet.
It also didn’t let me get away from my phone as much as I wanted to. I shot 98% of the footage on my iPhone. That meant that I could never leave home without it. Sometimes I also couldn’t be in the moment and enjoy myself because I would be looking for a good time to take my second of video. I wanted to do this project so it would not be disruptive. But it wasn’t all bad.
I am still really thankful I did it. Some more was good. I spent more time with people I cared about, more time outdoors (less on the computer), more time with my family, and learned more things. I have memories of both the good and bad. Video I took on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Red Sox World Series win outside of Fenway, and gut-busting moments (in laughter and food) with friends. I also got to see my 2013 from a different perspective.
Before I finished making the video I thought my 2013 kind’ve sucked. The project showed me it didn’t. I watched friendships grow and become more solidified. I heard a lot of laughter. I ate and drank constantly with people I care about. Most importantly, I saw a story I was proud to be a part of.
It’s been a typical winter since I’ve been back in Portland. Constant fog so thick you can’t see the tip of your foot when you kick and a constant flow of drizzle and gray. Classic.
The other night I pulled into my drive way and continued up to this random red barn I park my car in and then I stopped. All I could hear was the splatter of mud against my wheel wall. I tapped the pedal and hoped for a little motion and still the sound of whirring and tires spinning. No friction and no progress despite the motion and my best efforts. Maybe I’m just a stereotype? (My dad first reacted by questioning my driving ability too so don’t worry if you thought the same thing.)
The situation reminds me a lot of my 2013. I stayed in motion, but never found myself getting traction to make any progress and get to the next level. Sure, I can have conversations with people in French now, but I spent most of the year maintaining and “getting back on the horse” than actual learning. I never took the leap. I should have been comfortably conversationally fluent by now. Should.
Should can kill momentum. It can also set the bar of ambition. Or just based in delusion. I once thought that I should be able to throw down clean tomahawk dunks regularly in high school given that I put in enough effort to “up my boosties.” See, delusion. Should brings a certain amount of tension with it, if you view it right. Tension should be a good thing, right? It is a principal of interest in art afterall.
Should took its toll on me this year. It overwhelmed the positives that happened this year. It’s all I taste. Too complacent. Too slow. Not enough this or that. Not asking the right questions. I’m hungry, but I’m pissed off. I’m already picturing dark moments in 2014 where I’m hitting a wall and getting up just imagining how I feel right now.
Should is a weird thing. Like should can win no matter what place you take in a race. 1st? Should've beat your PR by more. 2nd? Should've worked harder and been first. What happens when it's not about the people who blow by you as your sprint is another's jog? When it's really about your legs not keeping up with your head and your heart is more concerned with finishing than anything else?
I admit it. I’ve been tired. I don’t even know where should belongs.
On to my 2014 themes.
Traction - Writing this out helped me finally put words to why 2013 frustrated me. Traction takes more than eagerness and hunger. It takes discipline, fight, perseverance, and pushing past “the resistance.” It’s more than accomplishment and more than motion. It requires fight and builds real progress.
Create - Make stuff.
Play - I actually wanted to make this word more along the lines of “screw social norms and do what you want.” Play kind’ve describes that though, doesn’t it? Reminds me of a posting I saw about the Rules of a Creator’s Life. I’ve grown obsessed with utility and making moments count to the point that it feels like I’ve forgotten how to play. :P
“It’s not a very pretty or perfect love, or even necessarily a romantic love. It doesn’t look cool.It’s more like two helpless things in the wild, and one says “I’ll protect you”, and both parties know it’s a lie because there’s no way either of them can protect the other from anything. That lie is the best way to describe this love. That feeling of not having to say “I’m scared”, because you share the exact feelings without having words over or under complicate it, that’s worth more than protection. It’s a connection. The less alone. This is all we look for on earth.”