A few years ago, when I was feeling pathetic and homesick in Scotland, I saw a video posted on a blog I occasionally read. Its appeal was twofold: first, the creator of this video clearly lived in DC, a place I was desperately missing, and second, the content was so familiar that it could have belonged to any twenty-something living in the District [of a certain demographic slice of society].
Fast-forward a few years and I decided to make my own version. Despite never being without my phone, I found it surprisingly difficult to remember to shoot a couple seconds of video every day. Either things seemed too mundane to bother filming, or too engaging in the moment to step back and capture from behind a lens. Nevertheless, I managed to grab something from most days between 29 and 30, and now here we are:
As for the music, I tried some other options so I wasn’t 100% ripping off that other guy’s video. In the end, nothing felt quite as right. “Yakkity Sax” may have been tempting in its comedic possibility, but LCD Soundsystem is rather more thematically appropriate. The persistent droning of the piano punctuated by percussive beats, the bittersweet lyrics about the breakneck speed of aging, all of it is almost too perfect for watching 365 days worth of tiny moments whoosh by in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Ultimately, I couldn’t bring myself to use anything but “All My Friends.”
Now that I’ve gone an edited it all together, I’m a little bummed that I didn’t keep doing this when the clock struck midnight on April 20. Seeing my twenty-ninth year condensed into one short video is oddly satisfying. It’s tempting to look back on the last year as one giant dumpster fire, because in many ways, it was. But I also had some high points, big and small, now immortalized in these seven minutes and thirty-six seconds. Even the bad things take on a rosier glow with this new perspective. All the doctors’ offices and the medicine and the retrospectively depressing Hillary Clinton imagery–I could choose to take the most pessimistic outlook on these things. My health is still terrible, and politically, things did not work out as I hoped (particularly as the Senate tries to pass an abomination of a healthcare bill that would make it even harder for millions of Americans, including women with Lady Problems like me, to get appropriate medical treatment). The United States is an undeniably racist, homophobic, misogynistic place, in ways that bleed into everyday life for all of us. Nevertheless, I choose to remember how excited I was about the possibilities of last year, even as I live with the realities of those subsequent heartbreaks of today. Hope is a commodity that is harder and harder to find these days, so remembering what it feels like to imagine a better version of the world and to see a path that might take us there feels invaluable. I’ll try my best to carry that feeling with me through my thirtieth year.