by Tanvi Kulkarni

For a while now, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of observation- watching people and trees, skies and held hands, wheels of running cars, my mother cooking something with the utmost devotion. There is so much of life unfolding itself around us every second of every day, and I am so amazed by how subtle and perpetual this movement of life is. 

An image of a hand holding a small bunch of fresh tea leaves in Kerala, India
Tea leaves in Kerala, India

This love for observation slowly morphed into love for documentation, and when I found 1SE, it felt like the most fitting discovery ever. I began using 1 Second Everyday a little over three years ago after seeing British singer-songwriter and writer Dodie’s mash of her 2017. What started as a simple practice in capturing all the little yet significant parts of my life slowly became a practice in grounding, reflection, and resilience. The assignment was simple: I had to capture a second of my life everyday. At the end of each month and each year, 1SE would compile my seconds and put a mini-movie of my life in front of me. Yet, over the course of the last three odd years, it has changed my life in the most monumental and gratifying ways. 

It’s imbued a sense of gratitude in me.

My favorite thing to happen since I’ve started using 1SE is the gratitude it has strengthened and validated. Capturing my life and all the little moments in it has been a practice deeply based in love, affirmation, and thankfulness towards the people I am around, the small miracles I get to witness, and all the joy in mundanity. When I look back at videos from 2018, there are familiar faces, familiar places, foods and smiles.  I’m consumed by gratitude because of the knowledge that I can so easily revisit so much of what I held dear that year. 1SE has helped me feel so grateful for the life around me, for the fact that I get to live this life the way I do. 

It’s a reminder of how much I’ve seen and how much I’ve lived.

I find it enormously difficult to carry out daily tasks and chores when things get hard, which they do pretty often. And in the face of that, 1SE’s been like a cushion I can fall back on. It’s given me visual proof of all the good times I’ve had, while also helping me see that there’s more to come. We’re aware of the passage of time because we’re audience to it. But watching your own growth, your own joy, stillness, sorrow, and excitement through the 1 Second Everyday mashups is an experience that I had never had before, simply because I’d never seen my own life as an audience. 

An image of an outdoor market in India
The colors and textures of an outdoor market
It’s forced me to be observant and patient.

Before 1SE, I thought only the big, beautiful, and easily eye-catching events in my life were worth documenting. I jumped from one big trip, one big event to the next. But once I began using 1SE as a video journal, I was so much more present in my own life. 1SE pushed me to observe my own life and all the lives around it with so much more detail, patience, and purpose. Sometimes I see a snail crossing the pavement and I know in my BONES that this is the highlight of my day. I’ll be around my friends, basking in their laughter and love, and there is no way my 1SE can miss this moment (maybe for later, when I need to revisit this seemingly mundane moment). The Lockdown meant confinement to one space for over a year, and suddenly, when the most exciting second I could capture was me getting out of bed, I was reminded that this was important. There is joy in familiarity, and there is joy in the acknowledgment of that, all of which 1SE’s given me. 

The author takes a picture of her feet as she walks through fallen blossoms
Sometimes the journey can be as special as the destination
It’s made me look forward to something everyday.

The truth is that very little of life is constantly, continually, and persistently exciting and thrilling. Most days, the big moments pass me and land somewhere else. But ever since I’ve been using 1SE, I’m determined to make something out of each day, even if it’s for the sake of a streak (because let’s face it, there is nothing more frustrating than having missed a day or two of capturing a second). Even if that second is just me stirring a juice or watering my plants. I now look forward to these things because one day, I’ll be able to look back and realise that even on days where I didn’t have anything special to look forward to, I still woke up wanting to acknowledge my own existence. 

Two women prune and repot hanging plants
Little, quiet moments: the author (right) and her mother spend time repotting plants
It made me see myself as the ✨ main character ✨

My favourite thing to do now is watch my 1SE mashes and know that I have agency in deciding how I feel about a day. On a bad day, I still get to decide what goes into my 1SE. If I’m having a good day but underneath all that joy, there is a moment of pain, I can use 1SE to reflect on that moment, and I will know that it had a place of its own. 1SE’s like a sneak into my life, and I get to reflect on all my moments of joy and sorrow, all the big and small moments of victory, all the places I’ve been and all the people I’ve loved, and above all, the million ways in which I get to grow every day. 

I want to say that my life hasn’t dramatically changed, but the truth is, in so many minuscule ways, it really has. The narrative that technology is detrimental is so tiring to me in the face of all the joys it has offered me, all the ways in which it has made my life so much better and fuller than it could’ve ever been. Had it not been for 1SE, I would have had one less constant reminder of why I exist. Amidst this unending movement of life are humans- tender, hopeful, and just as magical, screaming “We’re here!”. I’m so lucky I get to document that everyday, and how.

The author used this project, completed for school, as a way to share how using 1SE has affected her life.

Editor’s note: this is part of a series of stories, ideas, and thoughts from 1 Second Everyday’s brand ambassador team, which we call The Un1t. To learn more about the team, go here.

Posted by:picklediaries

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