Novak Agonistes: A Remembrance of Things Past

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were,” wrote Marcel Proust.

I can honestly describe my memory as selective; in other words, I tend to remember events, people, images, sounds, and words in a way that makes sense only to me. And those memories can pop up at strange times and disappear at inconvenient times.

So it was interesting to learn on New Year’s Day in 2016 about a mobile phone app called 1 Second Everyday, which was invented by Cesar Kuriyama. This app allows you to record a 1-second video each day and create a mashup along a timeline: a week, a month, a season, or, in my case, the entire year of 2016.

As soon as I learned about this app, recording my memories became my project for the year. This meant rising every morning, thinking about which one second of my day I would record, spending the day scouting opportunities, and recording that moment. Then I would go back to living my life. I found the process rewarding, but exhausting, which is why the project was limited to one year.

What a year it was! Because of this short video, I can vividly recall so much more of everyday life among family, friends, and coworkers as I straddled living and working in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and visiting my wife Amy in the Washington, DC area most weekends. Watching the video, I can recall the passings of David Bowie, Prince, Muhammed Ali, and Fidel Castro.

Amy and I also bought two cars! I moved out of a suburban house and into a 20th-floor midtown apartment, where I hosted Thanksgiving for 10 people and marveled at thunderstorms from a new vantage point. Amy and I traveled to Seattle, rode our bicycles 100 miles in a day by ourselves, and I ran my last 5K race — all just because.

And there were Hillary and Trump, and the subsequent reminders that life went on, even if we believed in our bones that nothing could be considered normal any longer.

Thanks to this video, my remembrance of the year 2016 is far closer to things as they were.

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