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Writing Your Life Story

Do you remember how you spent your free time before having television or internet in the house? What about that time your brother split his pants while dancing at the wedding? Do you remember the advice your grandparents gave you just before receiving your diploma? No matter how precious or ordinary your favorite memories may seem, the memories we take for granted today do fade with time.

As you grow older, you may find yourself reminiscing more and more. The events that have shaped your life are worth writing down, just as you remember them today. Not only will your family and friends appreciate someday having a record of your life to share for generations to come, but the very process of writing it down can be both enjoyable and therapeutic for you, too!

Here are just a few benefits of putting your life story into words:

Personal Fulfillment

Writing about your life provides an opportunity for you to reflect on important things from your childhood into adulthood. Think about the feelings and emotions you felt back then and depict the people, places and events as you remember them. You can explain why you made the choices you did and reflect on them in hindsight. Considering your past may also help to shape your future. Wishing you achieved more “bucket list” items along the way? It’s certainly never too late!

Many people find themselves feeling mentally and physically better after simply jotting down their thoughts and feelings. People who write expressively tend to have stronger immune systems, reduced depressive symptoms and healthier blood pressure (as cited in “Advances in Psychiatric Treatment”).

Leave a Lasting Legacy

Your knowledge and experience puts you in the unique position to share your wisdom with future generations. Let others know about the circumstances that shaped you into the person you are today. Although several years may separate you and your readers, the emotions you’ve dealt with and the conflicts you’ve faced are timeless. You can also use your writing to educate your descendants about your family’s history. Narrate experiences you shared with other family members throughout your life, including those who are no longer living. Do what you can to ensure that the stories of your ancestors are also shared with love.

A Fun Retirement Project

Writing your life story is a great way to stay busy in the golden years of your life. So, settle down in your comfiest chair, grab a piece of paper and start writing your memories down. Some parts of your life may be troubling, but try to stay positive. You’ll have a lot more fun writing about the good parts of your life. If you need some inspiration, rummage through the newspaper clippings, certificates and service medals you’ve saved over the years. Each of them likely has a story behind it that your loved ones can appreciate and learn from.

Not sure what to write about? Here are some prompts you can use to get started on your life story:

  • What local, national or world events happened during your lifetime? How did they affect you?
  • How did you meet your spouse?
  • What was your childhood like?
  • What are some of the most memorable places you visited?
  • Who are some of the most significant people from various stages of your life?
  • What music did you listen to while you were growing up? What were your favorite books, movies or television shows?

Don’t feel like you have to write an entire book about your life. A few pages on a particular topic may be sufficient. Whenever you recall something notable about your past, take a second and write about it. You can edit and expand upon your memories as more details come back to you. Your life story should be a celebration of you and chronicle a life well lived!

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