Holding On to An Idea

We all forget things often and risk losing good ideas. As soon as a brilliant idea comes to you, there are two things you can do to preserve it. First, you can record it – in writing, picture, drawing or video – and put it in a place where you will never lose it. The alternative, I’m afraid, is to let the idea linger in mental space and see if it can stand the test of time. The best ideas are not easily forgotten and won’t leave you alone. If you truly want to test the relative strength your idea, see whether you forget it after a while. If you fail to write it down and never forget it, chances are pretty good that your idea counts for something and isn’t going to run away from you.

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Life Echoes

I sit beside this exact fire once every few years with old friends – most of whom I had not seen since the fire before it. In moments like these, everyone can catch up, let go and share in timeless togetherness again. As if the last fire occurred in the not so distant past, conversations and idiosyncrasies flashback in ways that challenge the passing of time. Reunions often cathartically reorient your core and priorities. You remember who you were, remember who your friends were and remind each other. Save for a few nostalgic campfire stories, the echo of your past happens subliminally. It feels like reverberation in your memory – like a moment worth reliving. Reunions enrich the soul. Without losing yourself to total nostalgia, I recommend assembling them as often as you can.

Listen to Your Body

I spent the better part of my high school and college years fighting my body and pretending to be immortal. For that, I was rewarded with threats to my heart and notable memory retention deprivation. We’ve only got one body (as far as I know), so what’s the point? It’s like using a million-dollar prize for firewood and burning most of it up in one fell swoop. Damn shame. Why not listen to your body and take care of it? If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungover, don’t drink more. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re sick, rest. Simple logic far too often ignored. Very shortsighted to ignore these signals in favor of making a good impression at the office, meeting a deadline or proving a point. Especially dumb to put your body to the test as some public point of pride. Why I bragged about how little sleep I got in high school is beyond me. Don’t do it. It’s dumb. Take care of yourself!

Don’t Ignore the Past

We have explicit memory for a reason. Where most animals only have implicit memory for motor skills, human beings have a declarative memory that helps us record autobiographical, semantic and episodic information. We can remember how to do more than just walk and eat. We developed these skills to gain a competitive advantage against other species and humans who could not share our memories and experiences past. Simply put: “I learned things through experience that you do not know and that makes me better than you.” In a gnarly world of job applications and qualifications, “experience” means everything.

Experience does not end in employment land. Street smarts come from street experiences. Book smarts come from book experiences. We consume life and literature everyday, and much of what we consume gets logged in our brains.

Individuals often resist dwelling or revisiting bad experiences or periods of shame. They block episodes from memory, drink them away or refuse to share them with others. That’s a waste. While I understand that mistakes are not necessarily glamorous things to share with the public, you have an opportunity to help close friends and family learn from your mistakes. You can contribute to a collective memory and help the species last. We have memories for a reason – do not waste them. And do not let them die with you. Do not run from the past; embrace it as a gift. Any memory, good or bad, makes you the character that you are and gives you a competitive advantage in some way. Learn to stop hiding and love the past.

Make It Memorable

Special moment? Do anything you can to preserve it. Take a picture, scribble a note or steal a memento. Mark the occasion with celebration. Indulge in vice or break your own rules if you have to. Whatever it takes to help you hold onto the moment forever. Do not count on memory; it may fail you later. More likely than not, your recollection of the event will lapse from relevancy. Even the slightest trinket or scribble can help it all come back when you least expect it. Life is made up of poignant moments. It is important to revisit, track and learn from them. Nostalgia helps you recontextualize the things that are most important in life. If you collect anything, collect memories.

End Your Day Complete

You will sleep better having checked off just one last task on your list before calling it a day. If needed, finish it right before you hit the pillow – whatever it takes to clear your conscience before shutting down. I do not condemn the nights where a whirling mind delays sleep, but those nights are often preventable if you need the extra hours invested in your rest.

Invest In Your Childhood

I don’t care how immature or nerdy it may seem; everyone needs to invest in his or her childhood once in a while. Revisit old cartoons, movies, video games, board games, books, and destinations. Spend money on the things you loved as a child. I just purchased the new Legend of Zelda; after nearly two years devoid of video games, I look forward to burning a good 50 hours on it. Why revisit your childhood? It’s a grounding experience. Through nostalgia, you refresh core values and trace your steps. You come to appreciate who you are and where you came from. It’s important for building identity. It’s important for building the soul.

Do not hesitate to buy and enjoy that childhood classic. Screw the person who tells you to grow up.