I just had the best two hours and twelve minutes of my year.
My family watched our annual Bunnell Movie, just like we’ve done every year since 2002.
You won’t find the annual Bunnell Movie in theaters. Every year, a few days after Christmas, I start making that year’s movie. I look at everything we have for the year. I sift through dozens of our favorite songs, hundreds of our videos, and thousands of our photos.
My goal is to bring the best of these together into a chronological movie of our annual adventures. It’s a labor of love.
Here are some highlights of the 2017 Bunnell Movie:
I timed my daughter Gabby accepting her high school diploma perfectly to music. I have her accepting her diploma right when Joan Jett’s raspy lyrics of “she can turn the world on with her smile…” Everyone knows the old Mary Tyler Moore Show theme and Joan Jett’s cover is hard-charging and perfect for a young woman ready to take on the world.
I unfolded my Appalachian Trail backpacking trip with my other daughter, Josie, in the pouring rain, complete with lightning and thunder. Imagine Dragon’s Rise Up was perfect: “I was hoping for an indication. I was seeking higher elevation…” Maybe it’s because the weather was so bad that we had so much fun.
I got to create 3- to 5-minute action-packed segments of my wife’s 50-mile horse races, my “Worlds” ultimate tournament in Portugal, and even snippets of many BIG keynotes and Training sessions.
These mini-movies string together a year: college visits, cook outs, and crazy-sounding, half-yelling happy birthday songs in restaurants. Rupturing a bicep, having surgery, and working hard to recover. Losing a daughter to college and watching her pets jump all over her when she returns home.
In parts, we laugh so hard tears roll down our faces. In others, we noticed little “remember when” details we had already forgotten.
More than anything, when we see our year sprint past us in about two hours, we see the progress we’ve made.
So, why is this so important to me?
I’m incredibly future oriented and it’s both a strength and a weakness.
First, the strength. I’m always focused on the next thing, the next thing for me to learn, the next thing to help my family, and the next thing to help my clients succeed.
But it comes with a weakness. I often must force myself to reflect. I must create mechanisms for me to remember how far I’ve come. Without forcing myself to reflect, I don’t do it.
I’ve created two rituals to overcome this problem.
The first ritual is a weekly recap. Every Friday afternoon, I take about 15 minutes to type in my Day One journal about all the things I accomplished that week. I’m always amazed by how much got done, mostly because I forget about each task the moment I complete it. Oh yeah! I did get that done that this week! Was that this week? Seems like so long ago. I’ve found that if I don’t do this little routine, I only focus on what I didn’t get done instead of what I did. The weekly recap is mostly work-oriented, but I add some family things to remember the progress we made. I finish with picking a few of my favorite photos of the week and adding it to the journal entry.
The second ritual is the annual Bunnell Movie. The 20 hours or so I spend reviewing footage, picking our high points and timing them just so to the music is magic. Oddly, the magic isn’t just the end result, but the twenty or so hours that went into making it as well. The heavy lifting of reviewing all the footage gives me countless smiles and laughs, even if I’m by myself. Once I get the basic outline built, my creativity takes over. I start thinking of little tweaks to make it uplifting, funny, and memorable.
When it’s done, I debut it to the family. We have a tradition of making a fire, usually on the night of January 2, and making what we call a “puppy pile” on the couch. Nearly arm in arm, with two hours of popcorn within reach, we watch that year unfold before us.
Seeing our year fly by in about two hours is powerful. We see the challenges, the goals achieved, and the silly things that happen in between.
Most of all, we see the progress.
I’m not good at looking backward, at naturally reflecting on progress.
But when I do, it solves for my biggest weakness. And, since I don’t do it naturally, it means that much more.
It makes me proud. It makes me happy. I get excited about what’s to come.
It’s a new year for all of us, the perfect time to try something new.
What ritual can you put in place that would force a better way of thinking?