If there is one thing I wish I had everlasting access to, it would be the memories I never want to forget. We all appreciate the goodness of a day the night it is over. But in just one month, the day turns into vague particulars. We attempt to relive the feelings we experienced in those moments by reflecting on the indeterminant memories we end up recalling. Just once, I recorded every single detail of an amazing day on a scrap piece of paper and at that moment I felt an extraordinary amount of regret for not doing it before. If there is one thing we all should begin doing, it is keeping a precise account of the untroubled, adventurous experiences we face. It allows us to accurately remember the unforgettable moments in our lives while preventing us from forgetting the gratifying moments we face along the way.
I remember coming back home from a Japanese horror-themed escape house in Toronto. With escape rooms, there are so many minute details along the way that I knew if I did not record my day somewhere I would eventually lose all of it. From the bloody head hanging in the glass case to the ridiculous screams and laughs coming from my friends, I did not want to risk relying solely on my memory to protect these precious recollections. There was a moment where, when on top of a staircase, my friend ran into a dead body on the floor and nearly jumped down the entire set of stairs when everyone was ascending, resulting in all of us tumbling down into the darkness together.
I wonder how many moments in our lives we forget, how many experiences we have forgotten that once brought us sheer joy and how many times we carry on without ever knowing they happened. I do not want to forget the days I would have otherwise cherished for the rest of my life because of my forgetfulness. When I flip through pages of events I have tracked, it feels like I have gone back into the world where all that joy sprung to life and became a part of me. There are pages where I have written about the past with the most detail I was able to recall because if I don’t stop to write it down now, it will continue to be prey to time. There are pages full of the most random moments that sometimes occur to me: when my sister broke her finger thinking there was a mouse on the floor, when I sat in cardboard boxes and slid down the stairs or when I kicked a volleyball so hard I struck my music teacher’s cheeseburger straight out of his hand.
We should develop the habit of recording and reflecting on moments in our lives that made us feel magic. There is going to be a point when those times are lost somewhere in our heads. In those cases, the only thing that will connect us to those moments is what we have made the effort to preserve. Even on days where we don’t feel anything special, the effort should still be made. Right now, for instance, as undergraduate students, our days are mostly studying and spending time with friends. But imagine if we had access to the small moments we experienced in middle school, the thoughts and routines we tracked in high school that helped us shape who we are today.
It is a small daily effort that will take at most five minutes. But the results after years of writing have led me to a path of self-discovery, reflection and, most importantly, an embrace of my life as the ultimate magical moment.
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