The Everyday Project Manual

Below is the preface to the Everyday Project manual that I am writing as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign.  There are still a few days left in the campaign.  If you ever thought about starting your own project, now’s the time to do it.  You get a copy of the manual for only $3. 


The Everyday Project: A Guide

In the 2080s, I suspect I will fall victim to one type of cancer or another.  Given my demographics, I should live to be almost 90 without too much of a problem–so long as I don’t get in a violent car accident or piss off my future wife too badly (which is a possibility).  In the days that follow, my family, friends, and former coworkers will gather for my viewing.  I’m quite the introvert, so I imagine this being a small event.

Some people have specifics about what their funeral will look like.  Who gives the eulogy.  Where it is held.   I only have one stipulation for my funeral.   At some point I want the lights dimmed and my Everyday Project to play from start to finish.  I started when I was 17.  So long as I live a normal lifespan, the video will show me aging more than 60 years.  At the current rate, a year passes in my video every 18.26 seconds.  If I keep that speed, the Project will last nearly 20 minutes.  Enough time for the mourners to truly reflect.

It’s hard to imagine that a lifetime project will end up being only 20 minutes.  But it is so much more.  If you are reading this manual, then you already know the power of an Everyday Project.  All you have to do is watch one.  I will never forget the first time I watched Noah’s project nearly a decade ago.  At first all I could think was, “Who’s this guy?”  Then it was, “This guy must really like his face.”  But then hair is cut.  Beards grow and are shaved.  The default background suddenly changed….

..and you suddenly realize that you are being invited into an incredibly intimate part of someone’s life that can be expressed in few other mediums.  Everything changes in our lives.  Our clothes go through cycles.  We move.  People in the background fall in and out of our lives.  But we are still there.  Aging, ever so slowly.  It’s a thought that brings up so much emotion–from primal fear of death to bottomless courage to live life.

To me, The Everyday Project is so much more than an egotistical selfie project that we all get labeled as by the comment section.  It is project that grows in meaning with every passing year.  When you reach your first year, it’s cool to look back and know that you were able turn it into a habit.  When you hit three years, you start to feel something when your watch your project.  You aren’t simply seeing yourself from three years ago.  You are seeing the person you were three years ago turn into the person you are today.

Once you hit the 5-7 year mark, you know you can never go back.  It’s addictive.  For me, the start of September means it’s time to put together another Everyday Project video.  Another year.  I may only be adding 18 seconds to the video, but that’s not what you see.  You see a long string winding through different phases.

As I near eight years, I see myself finishing out high school, hating college, struggling with finding a career, going off to the Peace Corps, coming home, and starting a career.  Through all that, you can spot old girlfriends over my shoulder.  Friends show up quite often.  The Eiffel Tower is in the back of one photo.  Watching the video acts like an injection of nostalgia pumped directly into your heart Pulp Fiction style.

This is why I try to encourage people to start the project and make it their own.  So far I have convince two family members and one friend to start their own project.  I hope to reach many more with this manual.  Thanks to the extremely generous backers on Kickstarter, this is now a reality.  This manual will cover all the basics.  I will take you from before you take the first picture to turning it into a lifelong project.   Before we begin, I’m going to start with the one piece of advice I repeat to anyone who is interested in this project:

It is never too late start an Everyday Project.  Whether you are 11 or 65, your project will quickly become something you cherish.

Witnessing a Beautiful Moment

This moment has been with me for the past five hours.  I was t the supermarket behind the orphanage.  As I checked out, I made the lazy decision to take the moving walkway instead of the stairs.  As I walked up to the walkway, there was a 50-year old woman standing there, looking at it.  She was in her hijab, looking really uneasy.  I gave her a smile as I passed by her.  A part of me wanted to help, but I knew that would be inappropriate.

I’m glad I didn’t.  When I looked back at the woman, her husband had caught up with her.  He took her hand and eased her slowly onto the platform.  It took her a couple false starts, but she got the hang of it.  It was so cute. It was one of those moments when I realize I want a love that lasts into old age.

That being said, my next memory is about a wedding:

Day Six: My Sister’s Wedding


Pre Peace Corps Everyday Project

I started my Everyday Project shortly after seeing Noah Kalina’s six-year project–which exploded onto the scene in 2007. My video is now the approximate length of Noah’s original video (he has recently uploaded a 12.5 year project).

As any Everydayer would tell you, the projects means more and more with each passing year. Now, at six year, I can see myself through the end of high school, through all of college, and as I prepare to leave for the Peace Corps. I’ve gained weight. Lost it. Plenty of sunburns. Shaved my head. Moved. This project captures the intense speed of the world around you while simultaneously showing the slow aging process of humans.

Thank you to all of my readersand subscribers. If you are not already subscribed, make sure to. I get back from the Peace Corps in 27 months–which means the next Everyday Movie will be quite different. In the meantime, check out this Youtube site that organizes all the Everyday projects on Youtube:

The Everyday Project: Year Six

The Everyday project is one of my alternative creative outlets to writing.  For the past six years, I have taken a picture of my face on a daily basis.  When put in quick succession, it creates the reality of how quickly life changes while showing the slow progress of aging.  I am 23.5 years old….so this project shows 25.5% of my life.  With each passing year, this project means more and more to me.

It’s strange to watch the whole video.  I can see my high school self.  I can tell you when I became popular.  When I went to London.  When I started college.  When I lost a friendship.  Gained a relationship.  Lost a relationship.  Moved.  Became depressed.  Gained weight.  Lost weight.  It all shows itself in this video.  It’s the best way I know to lay everything on the table and take away the truth of someone’s life.  I will always be in love with this project.

Thus far, I have only been able to convince one person to do this project.  The thing is, he got someone to start the project as well.  No matter your age, this is a project I challenge you to start.  Nothing is more rewarding and challenging.  Seeing yourself age is so hard…but so eye-opening.  If you need a little more convincing, check out some of the other projects around the web here.  If you do decide to start the project, let me know.  I’ll link any Everydayer’s video with glee.

With Love,

Writing Various Ages

As I come close to finishing the second draft of my novel, a certain thought keeps coming to mind: what ages am I capable of writing?  I used to believe it was almost impossible to write beyond your age.  I now know that not to be true.  I am now 23 and the core of my novel center around three characters in their late twenties.  Nowadays, my thoughts revolve around the more extreme ages.  Throughout the novel, I bring in random characters in their forties and fifties…but I worry that I can’t make them as well rounded as the other characters because I haven’t gone through that part of my life.

Then there is youth.  With this novel, I feel like I have done a good job with my youngest character.  She is 14.  When I think about it, however, I am not sure if I could go much younger.  I love reading books with young characters…but I don’t know how to develop such a character.  How do you enter the mind of youth?  I talked at length with one of my friends about this.  She just read “Room.”  It’s a book that centers around a five year old.  I can’t even imagine.  Maybe that’s another boundary of my abilities that I need dismantle through hard work and writing practice.

With Love,

The Everyday Project

With only a few chapters left, I am starting to wrap up the storylines of several characters. I’m enjoying it a lot.  I’ve grown to know my characters a lot over the past month an a half.  Their lives after the events of the book almost feel like they are writing themselves.  I know how they act and what they are capable of.  As the book comes to a natural conclusion, I am finding out a lot that I didn’t know about my characters.  I love it.

Today I am uploading a personal project that has nothing to do with writing.  Five and a half years ago, I started taking a picture of myself everyday.  Today, that means that there are more than 2,000 pictures.  When played in quick succession (10 images a second), you can see me age.  The Everyday Project is something I believe everyone should do.  I hope you enjoy.