Cherish thoughts, they don’t always stick around

By Samuel Kottoor, Columnist

The brain is all too often taken for granted. In a single day, the amount of wacky ideas, crazy thoughts and interesting observations that fly through our heads is nothing short of wild. It’s sad to think that these thoughts come and go without ever being seen again.

I realized there was a simple solution to this.

I started carrying around a small, red journal everywhere I went this summer, and called it my “Little Red Writing Book.” I started by writing down every random thought that came to my head, any observation of different cultures from my travels or just anecdotes from life. As my attachment to this journal grew, it became a compilation of my life, and even a source of entertainment.

Think of all the people you briefly cross paths with, at random places like stores or airports, that you will definitely never see again. Think of the old man sitting next to you on a bus who gives you the most profound advice on life. Think of the stranger that offered you a smile on a bad day.  

These people are almost always forgotten. It was disheartening that these people who had cool little impacts on me in the moment were lost in the multitude of my memories. So, I started a list of all these people, with a quick description of them and how they impacted me. The list started to expand more and more, making me realize just how many people I come into contact with that deserve to be a long lasting memory in my life. This list began to encourage me to go out of my way to talk to more people, and experience life to its fullest.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

My journal also has a list of every TV show I’ve ever seen, a count of all the oranges I’ve ever eaten in my life (I’m at four), and a personalized dictionary I made to define words in the way I perceived them. My journal began to embody my life. When bored, I would even make up songs in it, creating wacky lyrics and conjuring up melodies.

Many people find it important to journal every day, to write down the events of each thing that happened to them that day, marking each entry off with a date. To me, this is better than not writing anything at all, but the best form of journaling is to just have a chronological list of all the cool, little, or big, things you experience. That way, you are more inclined to look back and read this list of awesome things that have happened in your life, instead of a hefty journal of monotonous pages, with a few cool anecdotes here and there. Unless your life is truly that interesting where something crazy happens every day, just write down the things you actually want to remember.

Though I’d like to think that what happens in our heads, stay in our heads, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is so much activity up there that comes and goes with no warning. Creativity flows through all our brains, so I just ask to make an effort to try and capture the brilliance that is you.

Samuel is a junior in Engineering.

[email protected]