One Second Everyday: 2018

With that, another year.

In Block 2B of med school, I learned about bones. I learned that when bones are broken, they heal in three stages.

First, acute inflammation occurs. Blood rushes in, carrying in signals and cells that work to clean up debris, minimize damage, and clear infections. This happens immediately. It is associated with pain, tenderness, and instability. This is a time that necessitates healing.

This was 2017. I was broken.

Second, a soft (then hard) callus forms around the fracture, surrounding it, immobilizing it. Folks who’ve broken bones may remember a period where there were knobs or bumps around the fracture. The sealed capsule within the callus is now filled with osteoblasts, bone “builders.” A tenuous stability is achieved, but the inner trauma is still there.

My first half of 2018. Tons of new growth and change. Made new close friends, became a regular at local restaurants and cafes, and enjoyed a curriculum that was increasingly relevant to my interests. But I also dealt internally with lots of struggles and heartbreak associated with transitioning from an old life in California into a new one in Philadelphia. Then, I finished my postbac, ending a five year gap year journey.

Third, after months or years, a combination of osteoblasts — bone “builders” — and osteoclasts — bone “eaters” — work to remodel and reform the bone’s original shape and strength. Blood vessels revascularize the area, reproviding its essential nutrients, and bone is reinforced in the areas of highest mechanical stress. The bone is healed, but also not the same as before. The bone is complete again, but the cells that make it up and the vessels that sustain it are new.

My second half of 2018. I’m feeling fully whole, invigorated and nourished by a new set of friends, opportunities, and challenges. Traveled to Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Finished digitizing our whole family album collection. Produced, wrote, and directed a major short film (editing still in the works) with some of my favorite creative humans. Filmed two dance videos with some long time collaborators. Started medical school. Collaborated with a doctor to produce a short nutrition film. Learned from an amazing ER doc the multitude of ways that we can tell stories as physicians and how to guard and cultivate our humanity through medicine. Wrote a creative non-fiction piece and then somehow read it in front of 200 people. Elected to be an student government representative and appointed to be a free clinic board member. Learned a lot. Kept up my creative passions. Took hella photos.

Bones are living, adaptive organs - a fact contrary to my original perception of bones being dry, immobile, and static. It’s helped me come to this conclusion: we were not built to break. But when we do, we are also not meant to stay broken.

It’s been a wonderful year. All in all, it’s been so fun. I feel stronger, more confident, more open, more warm, and more loving. I’m ready for 2019.

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In other news, I’ve successfully done this project for six years.

In the original TED talk by Cesar Kuriyama, he states that if you film a second a day for 10 years, you will have an approximately hour documentary of a decade of your life. I remember thinking, ‘that sounds nice, I’ll be happy if I can do it for a year.’ And here I am - 60% through my documentary on what essentially are my twenties. What originally needed constant alarms and notifications is now a habit of life, slowly building what will be my life’s flashback.

I still keep to the original spirit of the project: record less, live more. Include all the times, documenting both the peaks and abysses of life. Though, I also keep all my original videos and maintain written journals to provide a more complete picture than my accumulation of one seconds. My 5 year compilation is here — I didn’t end up publishing it last year.

I often wonder what significance watching year 1SE videos has for other folks, if there are any lessons to be derived from our collective documentation of our journeys. Feel free to let me know any thing you’ve learned or observed from either watching your own or other people’s compilations. Finally, now that I’ve passed 50% of a decade, I feel obliged to thank my original enabler, April, for inspiring me to get started.