A Life in Moments: A Reflection On Documenting Our Lives

A Life in Moments

Melissa Gosselin

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. As I was brainstorming my topic for this week, I realized that it’s been almost a year since my very first ButterTree & Biscuits post. On June 30th, 2021, I introduced myself . . . and I set out to explore human connection through stories and reflections. And it’s been interesting to look back at all the topics I explored  — at how my writing style has changed and how much I've grown. 

Looking through almost a year of blog posts got me thinking about how I document my life. Because I've always set aside time to look back on experiences. I’ve always kept journals or made scrapbooks, and I even created 1 Second Everyday videos (which is an app I started using in 2020 — check it out!). During the last few years, especially, there have been times when I felt like I wasn’t making progress, so I documented little pieces of each day, no matter how mundane.

On January 1st, 2020, I took my very first one-second. It was of my parents looking out at the sunset in Mexico. At that moment, I never could have guessed the kind of year that was ahead. Not only was there a global shift in 2020 with the pandemic, but my family life also abruptly changed — my mother’s health deteriorated, and on July 17th, she passed away. 

Despite everything that happened that year, I continued to capture those one-seconds. Sometimes I missed days in between. During my grieving period after my mom passed, there were days I went dark . . .  And there were no big moments to capture. No concerts. No gatherings with friends. So instead, I started capturing small moments. The sound of the coffee machine. My footsteps on the gravel when I took my dog for a walk. Moments of kindness, like when my boyfriend would make lunch for me after I finished teaching online classes. Or cherished moments, like the sound of the mantle clock ticking on those quiet mornings when I had coffee with my dad. Sometimes, I would write a line under the videos . . . of something I was grateful for or about something I was feeling. On January 12th I wrote: “I’m grateful for good friends and coffee dates”. In March, I wrote a lot about anxiety and uncertainty. 

Before the one-second videos, I had journals like scrapbooks — with ticket stubs from first dates and public transit passes from foreign countries. Lately, I’ve been bullet journaling (as I may have already mentioned) and tracking progress on different goals and projects. But no matter how I document, reflecting on what I’ve lived has always helped shape my perspective, helped me learn from challenges and remember what’s truly important. I know it's the small moments that really matter in the end, and that I'm progressing far more than I realize in the moment. I know I won't see a plant grow if I just sit and stare at it, I have to take time to notice a little each day. 

But what about you? How do you document your life? Do you keep journals, make videos, or create scrapbooks? Let me know in the comments below!

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