Preserving Your Life Story
more ways to preserve memories, share stories and pass on family history
When I Walk
When I walk I go to another place. Literally, of course, as in the
places my feet take me. But I am speaking also of another place, a
meditative and contemplative space, where I can think, reflect, dream
and just be.
Yourself In Your Story
Storytelling is an ancient and very important craft. Some people
are gifted storytellers. But you don't have to be a great
storyteller to tell your story. All of us learn from stories. It starts
when we are very young and continues throughout our lifetimes. We find
ourselves in our stories.
Five W's of Work
of us work. We labor at a job and
we hope our paycheck will cover our expenses. But I've found that it
really is important to work to live, rather than
the other way around - live to work. Let's consider what meaningful work
entails. I like using the 5
W's as a guide. That's right, the who, what, where, when and
I find it more and more important that we have what I
would call life vigilance. We must consider the importance of
recognizing how each day we have is special - perhaps even our last day.
and Dying in Real Time
If you have pondered the purpose
of life, both your own and others, then you are a good candidate for
preserving your life in narrative form. We all have a story, the story
that we are living each day.
Reminiscing requires patience. Reflection done in a conscious way helps
us to ponder the significance of life. And for those things that
don’t make sense it is even more important to find time to
think, question and discuss.
All productive writers tell us that regular writing sessions are
essential. I best practice this by writing in my journal. If you are
working on a memoir, keeping a journal allows you to read about your
thoughts, emotions and life happenings from various times in your life.
Fears of Life Writing
can be an obstacle to your life
story writing. But it need not be. Whenever you are afraid it is always
helpful to identify just what those fears are and see how much they are
based in reality and how many of them turn out to be just your
imagination running away with you. I find it beneficial to remember the
acronym F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing
Compare and Contrast in Your Lifestory
A writing technique used in schools can be very
when approaching your life story. Using a compare and contrast
technique will provide an interesting perspective.
Putting Your Story in Order
Your story might be a personal or family history.
Or you might be creating a memoir of a certain time in life or type of
vocation or vacation. Regardless, any story has multiple parts and the
resulting parts (stories) can be put into some kind of order. The order of your stories in your memoir is
Writing About Work
work, the personal history of your career or careers, can be fertile
material for a memoir. Many of us spend a huge amount of our lifetime
at work, doing various jobs and building a career.
Legacy of Love
Our mortality is a fact. Preparing for it is a good idea. Not dwelling
on it, but preparing for it. How will you prepare your legacy of love?
Your past, including the history of your parents, grandparents and the
rest of the “family tree” is a rich source waiting
to be discovered. If you don’t already know the stories that
make up your family history you are missing out on a vital part of your
My Life Story
A growing number of people have decided to write a life story,
autobiography, memoir or personal history. And more are thinking about
it. But writing my life story was not a decision I arrived at
overnight. Tips on writing your autobiography or memoir.
make a decision to preserve a story or personal history you begin a
journey. Like all journeys there is some necessary preparation. Let me
offer a few basic life story preparation steps.
of Your Story
make the decision to tell your life story you are faced with a big
task, because ultimately you need to get to the heart of your story. Here’s
what I recommend first. Get to
yourself. I mean, find out who you really are.
Consider the right
questions. Personal history is indeed a process. As the information is
that makes up your story you will be constantly reflecting on it. Who
am I? Where
am I from? What matters most?
Memoir and the Larger World
History takes place every day. Significant events in our lives are
happening. Considering them in the context of historical events adds
depth to our stories. It gives others an opportunity to relate their
lives, experiences and feelings through the perspective you offer in
High Five for
a list of the top things
you are grateful for is always beneficial. I believe we should never
lose sight of those things in life that mean the most, that we cherish,
that are the true treasures by which we measure our wealth.
and Reunions - Oh My!
is a common practice to create a social event around a birthday,
anniversary or reunion.
you reflect on your life you will find there are different
periods that bring up varied memories and associated emotions.
Sometimes those emotions cloud your recollections. You’ll be
thinking about one thing that reminds you of another time and soon you
are off-track and derailing your train of thought.
Life Story Interview Starters
Getting people to talk about their lives requires consideration, tact
and some good questions. Having some good starter questions can help
you get the “gold” of a good life story.
Elderly Preserve Memories - by Eve Barnes
has an older family member who has told them stories of the past. If
you grew up listening to grandma’s tales of war and wash
days, you may have shut your ears off because you’re more
interested in the present. But stories passed down through the
generations leave an important legacy for families.
What do you want out of life? How have the years and experiences shaped
you? Have you started writing any of it down? Get "under the hood" of
your life experiences. A good personal historian can be like an
Doing life review and preserving your
personal history can be
beneficial on many levels, including your health. But many mistakenly
believe that those with dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s
are incapable of contributing to the preservation of their life story.
For those afflicted the process of life reminiscing does become more
challenging. There is, however, help to preserve personal history for
those suffering from early Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Personal History Awareness Month
The month of May is set aside by personal
historians as the
month to generate awareness about the importance of personal
history. Personal Historians recognize this month and
encourage people to do something
to preserve their personal and/or family history.
Experience Life and Live to Write About It
we live in a world where the technology gives us instant access to
record and share our experiences. This is good and bad. Not everything
is "share worthy". But how fantastic that we can quickly preserve and
share when we want to and think it is worthwhile.
Life through the Eyes of a Baseball Fan
a passion for something – art, music or baseball –
can be a good thing. My love of the great American pastime has never
think about life events as they are framed by summer and baseball.
a lens through which I see life and I’m often comforted by
contemplating life while watching a game.
are so many people who recall great stories related to sports and
athletics. The personal experiences you had in school sports are
important memories and worth recalling. Some families have been
fortunate to have a prominent member achieve a certain level of fame,
perhaps as an Olympic or professional athlete. All these sports stories
form your legacy of athletics.
Memories - Past, Present and Future
We all have Christmas memories. As a youngster one of my first
recollections of tinsel, lights and presents was in Florida. If we
treasure those memories and record them to share with others on the
Christmases yet to come we will discover that the Christmas past,
present and future all exist together.
Might Miss Something
“Don’t Blink”, a song sung by country
music superstar Kenny Chesney,
tells the story of a man who has just turned 102 and
is interviewed about the secret to life. There's a valuable
lesson in this song.
Journey of Journaling
The importance of
keeping a journal for personal and spiritual growth.
is truly a great tool. In our journey through life we need to spend
time reflecting on our days and considering the implications of the
events in our lives.
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has happened in your life that is shaping
everything you are and do. It could be marriage, birth of your child,
death of a loved one, a career change or an epiphany brought on by
When a close family member or friend dies we grieve, but we
also honor their memory. This is about being with my mother when she
of our lives plays out in moments worth remembering. A family
newsletter can be just the thing to document those days and sharing it
with your family can be a treat. Included are links to some online
a Chord for Memory: An
Article on How Songs Help You Write Your Life Story
You have experienced this many times in your life. A song
comes on the radio or stereo and you are instantly transported back in
time. For some people the memories resurrected from a well-loved song
are so powerful that your senses participate.
for the Merry Month
May is springtime and when nature is
showing her colors and plants are coming back to life it's a great time
to be outdoors and to enjoy life. It's also a grand time to start new
projects (there's a reason "spring cleaning" is a popular expression),
so why not celebrate your desire to preserve personal history?
Wills - Why You Should
The things that are most important to us
in our life journey shape and influence us everyday. The need to be in
touch with these values and communicate them to others has spawned a
growing trend of writing Ethical Wills.
Gift of Surprises
Surprises can come in many new and unexpected ways. The
very nature of a surprise can result in sudden realizations that things
are not always the way they seem. The good news is that surprises,
either pleasant or otherwise, are necessary for our continued growth.
Bradbury Vision on Creativity
Ray Bradbury, whether you know it or not, you are part of my story and
I thank you for your gift which you've shared with so many others. Your
imagination was fired and you helped us climb into your worlds with the
memories you shared
The values leaders demonstrate - courage, decisiveness and
humility among them - contribute greatly to a families' legacy.
Power of Lists
about everyone makes lists. Lists
can be great building blocks for crafting your
There is time for work and play and finding the right balance is key to
having a fulfilling life. You must make time for play.
Running a marathon is also a lot like life. You don’t sprint
through life; you are in it for the long run and the goal at the finish
line is to have lived well.
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Everybody has a story to tell!
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