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  • Writer's pictureCheridan Arthur

The Most Uneventful, Unforgettable Year

Every year since my sophomore year of college I have recorded one second, each day, of my everyday life. Using the extremely fancy-schmancy video editing software iMovie, I compile those 365 clips into my very own time capsule. I don’t animate anything. I don’t spend hours picking out fonts. Most of the time the clips are just shaky footage taken on my iPhone. It’s simply something I do for me, to be able to look back on my year (and because it’s way less time consuming than scrapbooking).

When COVID-19 hit, I considered giving up on recording my one-second video. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything exciting or remarkable enough that was worth filming. And compared to my prior two years, I knew this video would feel dull.

But that’s exactly why I continued. I’ve always wanted these videos to be authentic representations of my life. The good, the bad, and downright boring. Sometimes these videos are even more realistic than my journals (which consist mostly of me babbling about “what-ifs”). And the most beautiful thing about this process for me is that even on the most drab of days, I’m able to pick out one moment, just one second, that made me smile or that made me feel grateful. It could be anything from a surprise run-in with a cute pupper, to a much needed coffee break.

As someone who does nothing but seek larger-than-life, grand adventures, it can be hard for me to appreciate the small, mundane tasks that make everyday life worthwhile. Stopping to record the roses has led me to appreciate this “extraordinary, ordinary life.” Especially during a year where simply going to the grocery store feels like a spontaneous trip to Vegas. (Not to mention, maybe one day my future children will ask what life was like during the pandemic, I’ll have this video to show them.)

I’d like to note that I’m one of the lucky ones. In 2020, my greatest hardships consisted of a canceled college graduation, some online classes and a severe case of stir crazy (symptoms include: obsessive Netflix bingeing, inability to complete passion projects, and general dissatisfactory). This year has been hard, yes, but compared to others, I got off easy.

Despite all the struggles (that all the commercials loved to remind us of this year), I’ve grown so much while spending time alone with myself in quarantine. I’ve read more than ever (stay tuned for my favorite self-help books), started meditating and running (I’m shocked too), and taken the time to ask myself what I really want in life. Once alone with my thoughts, the answer came surprisingly clear. “I want to tell stories.” Which is how I’ve come to doing the one thing I never thought I’d see myself doing: writing a blog post (queue High School Musical’s “Start of Something New” and fade to black).

Here are some lessons I learned this year that I’d like to carry with me into post-quarantine life (whenever that may be):

1. Self-care is not selfish.

2. Checking in with your friends regularly doesn’t make you clingy, it makes you a damn good friend.

3. Dogs make everything better.

4. Being alone and being lonely are two totally different things.

5. Everyone copes differently.

6. There’s something extraordinary in every ordinary day. It is not the day or the activity that makes something special, but your mindset.

7. It is okay to feel sad, to let yourself feel every emotion, but it is not okay to let those emotions take over your life.

8. Too much of anything is never a good thing.

9. Friends, family, and relationships should be cherished, always. Because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

10. You. Cannot. Control. Everything. Focus on what you can.

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