We often discuss how to go about writing your life story. The 'how' is obviously important and it is the part most people fret over. What we don't spend much time discussing is why you should write your life story. Understanding 'why' you're crafting a life story can help you make crucial decisions about how you format it. Furthermore, staying connected to the 'why's help motivate and encourage us along the journey. Today, we're going to explore some of the many reasons why we should record our personal histories.
Leave a Legacy for Your Loved Ones
This is perhaps the most common reason people record their life story. Especially older people who are grandparents or great-grandparents. It's only natural to want a little piece of immortality and life memoirs or recordings are a great way to achieve that. When you allow future generations to know who you were, what your life was like, and what events shaped you, you'll actually help them to understand where they came from and know themselves better. Who knows-- your great, great grand-daughter may relate to your story or be incredibly inspired by something you say and that could change the course of her life!
Connect to Your Creativity
There is a great sense of accomplishment to revel in when you're able to break down your life into compelling and meaningful stories. Even if you'd never call yourself a creative person, you are certainly capable of using creativity! To record a life story, you don't need to be a great writer. You could record audio or video stories. You could scrapbook. You could start by just answering some memoir writing prompts or working on short stories. There are lots of possibilities and even more sources of inspiration! Listen to story-telling podcasts, read some critically acclaimed memoirs, get a friend to do this with you, or find an online life story service that will help you slowly put the pieces together.
Build Stronger Connections
There's no need to go it alone. Embarking on this project can actually be a great catalyst for feeling more connected to yourself, your family and others. As you reflect on your memories and life experiences, you'll naturally feel more connected to your own story. If you invite family members to interview you or help with crafting your story, it may enhance your relationship and bond. Additionally, you might see if you can find a life story/memoir writing group or creative writing workshop in-person or online. The support, encouragement and advice you receive will keep you going!
Develop a Sense of Purpose
It is not uncommon to experience isolation, depression and a sense of aimlessness in old age. Telling your story and leaving that legacy for your loved ones can give you a reason to get up in the morning. At the very least it is something to aim for and it can be very fulfilling.
Reap the Therapeutic Benefits
There are well-evidenced health benefits to writing. The process of recording your life story could create new neural pathways, keeping the brain active. Additionally, reminiscing and conjuring memories will help you to stay cognitively sharp. Digging through your personal history may bring up strong emotions or issues that have gone too long unaddressed. This presents an opportunity to experience some level of acceptance or healing.
Self-awareness is the habit of paying attention to the you think, feel, and behave. It's all about understanding your psychological triggers and patterns in certain situations. When we understand and are aware of the relationship between our thoughts, emotions and actions, it becomes easier to:
- Better our relationships
- Communicate more effectively
- Improve our mood
- Increase productivity
- Make clear-headed decisions
Journaling, or the practice of self-reflection is one of the top-cited ways to improve self-awareness. Drawing a timeline of your life and reflecting back on your past experiences can be an excellent way to gain a new perspective or context. Enhancing self-awareness could help you have empathy for yourself or others, bring about acceptance and healing, and inspire a new approach to living out your future days.
Recording a life story for fun, and nothing else, is perfectly valid!