How important is your story? To yourself, your children, grandchildren and others who follow? Or to the world at large if your story is of significance to those beyond your family? Don’t decide you are of no real consequence or importance. You have no earth shattering tales to share? You are so wrong. No matter your walk of life or the journey you’ve taken – are taking – your story is so very important to someone.
I’m not talking about that fictional story you have inside. Write that one too. After all, its said we all have such a story. No. It’s your story I’m talking about. The story of you and your life. You can remain a real entity in the lives left behind you by sharing your story.
I believe sharing your life and experiences is important. Growing up listening to my mother’s tales of her upbringing cemented this. I hung on every little morsel she shared. Mum’s stories brought my grandparents – all gone before I could know them for real – and their parents to life.
The urgency of recording your story, by whatever method is easiest for you, came home to me as my sister battled cancer. She began her story with assistance from a local Hospice volunteer, but barely reached her teenage years. While I was not there to help, she furthered the narrative by making notes. But her writing is virtually illegible due to her multiple sclerosis. I have those notes and hope to decypher at least a portion of them. But even if I do, I know her efforts only took her up until her marriage.
I never considered my sister might die so soon. If only I had suggested years ago to her what I’m suggesting now. Let’s all begin our life’s stories. My sister squeezed so much into her lifetime, but her grandchildren are left without awareness of much that she achieved. Fifty two years of rearing children, educating herself, working, travelling and helping others is going to disappear without any written record. I find that incredibly sad.
How amazing it must be to have detailed diaries or journals from ancestors. Such a record would be worth more than gold to me. I have some from my mother – after I begged her to write of her life’s journey. They are so precious to me, but are so incomplete. Like her daughter, Mum’s came to an abrupt halt – with the death of her husband. I could never get her to continue. “You know everything from then on” was such a lame excuse but I couldn’t budge her into returning to her notebook.
We Should All Make A Start Now!
Your story will take longer than a few sittings. My plea to you all is to begin recording your story now and take the next ten or twenty years to continue it. You will never finish your story. Someone close to you will pen those last few entries relating to your death. But so much of your life and all the wonderful adventures will be there forever. Those who loved you can share all the joys or heartaches.
So how about it? Will you take a few moments to consider putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or voice to recorder and begin recording some of your story? Once you begin writing, it will be easy to occasionally add a little extra. The goal posts shouldn’t be your end aim at this stage. Its getting out of the starting blocks that’s important. Don’t lets wait until its too late, or we have a terminal illness but are too weak to even consider sharing a lifetime of experiences. Give your family the present they’ll never forget, an insight into who you used to be before you were the you you are today.
Hey Jill, lovely to hear you’re considering recording your story. Because of the way I write, it seems logical to me to do a story chronologically but this is not the only way. The beauty of word processing – rather than writing it out long hand – is that you can always change things around later with very little effort. (I assume you will use a computer?) Important thing is to get words down, however you manage it. Instead of chronological, you could consider selecting ‘headings’ under which to record, eg. education, work experiences, marriage, family, recreation, travel/holidays etc. The list would be as long or short as you decide. Check the library for some autobiographies and see how they have been laid out for ideas. I believe you committing to record your story is number one. How you go about it will never be the right or wrong way. Make it your way for your story. Good Luck.
Hi Anne. I have been thinking of doing this for so long now, and not getting any younger the record needs to be started. Is it easier to group the writing into series of years, eg pre school, primary etc. Look forward to your reply.