Life in Aggregate

- 8 Minute Read-

Digging back into the albums today, this one from my 2011 backpacking trip across Europe.
Digging back into the albums today, this one from my 2011 backpacking trip across Europe.

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Two things happened: spring arrived and I had the morning off. So, I grabbed the skateboard and my camera and hit the trails to see what I could find.

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Joel’s Journal - Entry #146 - 3/25/2017

It’s Sunday, and I’ve got a bit of extra time (well, sort of) and I want to focus on one thing for today’s journal: life experiences.

Now you may look at that and say, “shit, Joel that’s a pretty wide topic.”

And I will nod my head and agree, but we’re going to get a little more specific.

I want to write about the life experiences that really make life special. I mean those moments that we live for, those moments we think about in seconds of nostalgia or those moments we look back on and say, “yeah, that was f%#ing awesome.”

My inspiration for today comes from the great Casey Neistat. Since he ended his daily vlog, I’ve been watching a collection of his older vlogs just to get my daily dose of energy and creativity (seriously, the man is a filmmaking genius).

If you don’t know about Neistat, he’s a YouTube legend. By using very primitive means and a combindation of DIY ingenuity and simple creativity, he creates some of the most ingenius and informative vlogs you’ve ever seen. Thrown in the mix are clips of him ripping through New York City traffic on his Boosted Board, his incredibly cute baby, and amazing bits of life advice.

It was in one of his older videos that I stumbled across a bit monologue that I really needed to hear yesterday.

Returning from a trip to France with his son, Neistat talks about how these moments, these trips, the fun experiences, change in your memory over time.

“Any time you have like a special experience in life, and in the moment, it feels great, it feels wonderful,” he says. However, he adds that it is simply logged away as “this fun thing that I did.”

“As time goes by, they go from these little fun things to something so much more substantial,” he says.

Now, let’s melt away into Joel’s memory for a minute.


 

I’m a little nervous as I step across the causeway. Beneath me, the rough waters lap loudly against the concrete walls of the canal. My sea legs are non-existent and generally my equilibrium doesn’t do well with boats. However, with my courage amplified by a few pints of beer and my body surging with nicotine, I ignore the wails of my brain and drop into the seat beside Daniel. My Uncle Mark drops into the seat beside him.

We’re in the middle of Copenhagen, Danmark, and the roofless boat is about to take us on a tour around the historic city. I’m excited and maybe more than a little nervous, but I continue to push the thoughts away as I turn and snap a photo of Daniel and Mark.

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We head out, and I’m relieved to find that sitting so low to the water, the boat barely moves. So, I stop worrying and enjoy the ride, that is, until the grey skies above us open up and begin soaking the three of us.

We huddle under a trio of umbrellas. The day is still bright enough to cast a dull, green-tinged light across Daniel and Mark’s faces as we huddle beneath the thin sheets of material as they’re pelted with rain. My head, shoulders and legs remain dry while my lower back and ass are exposed and soaked.

We shake our heads as the tour guide at the front of the boat shares the information about the sites around us that none of us can see.

I’m not sure who started it, I think it was Mark, but someone started to laugh, and like a contagion floating around beneath the umbrellas, all three of us caught the bug and soon enough all three of us are laughing uncontrollably into the floor of the boat. And I mean LAUGHING, like uncontrollable hysterics. No doubt the guide at the front could head our laughter echoing off the metal floor. However, all he could see of us were three huddled forms beneath a clump of twitching umbrellas.


 

Now, let’s melt back to reality.

It doesn’t seem like that big of a moment. It was hilarious at the time, and none of us were too upset about the rain. After it passed, we finished the tour, hopped off the boat and headed back to my uncles place outside the city.

This was six years ago in October, and I know now that it’s a moment that I’m never going to forget. I get goosebumps thinking about it, and it has come to represent everything that I love not only about my brother and my uncle, but everything that it means to travel and enjoy life.

“Time has this magical ability to erase all the negative and amplify all the positive,” Neistat says in the video.

This is only a TINY example of what Neistat is talking about, and I could honestly go on forever with moments from my recent trip to Montreal with M (when we sat before a fire sucking on maple taffy as the smoke drifted around us) or our summer trip to Algonquin when a tiny mouse crawled directly into the box of cookies we were using to make smores with (I remember shining the light down and through the plastic and seeing him looking up, his nose and whiskers twitching, an inquisitive look on his face, like he was asking, “can I help you with something?”).

It’s these memories that we look back on that bring meaning to the things that we do. They simply start out as something that we DID and become small parts of who we are and where we end up.

“It is these moments in aggregate that equal life,” Neistat says.

Casey, I couldn’t agree more.

That’s it from me today everyone, I hope you’re all enjoying the last bit of your weekend and this week be sure to keep doing what you love and doing it well.

And thanks for reading!

J.J.W.

P.S. Here’ the clip I’m talking about from Neistat! 👇