We're heading into the home stretch, now. Perhaps you had "on-the-job training"--what was it? What skills did you learn, what hours did you work? What were your wages?
Perhaps you went to college. Write about college life, grades, classes, people, your degree.
If you were in the military: what branch, rank, and countries did you serve? Describe your experience.
How did you meet your spouse? Write about getting engaged, your wedding day. How about relationships with in-laws? Describe your first home--apartment or house? What did you learn about married life?
What about raising a family? Tell about the birth of children and your adjustment to parenthood.
Tell about your neighbors and friends. What community did you live in and were you active in community life? What part has religion played in your life?
What are your hobbies and skills? Jot down your feelings on retiring. How have you dealt with sad times? Write about the good times, too. What part does music, art and literature play in your life? What are your favorite TV programs, books, songs, games?
What national and world events have particularly affected you? Have you volunteered in some capacity? Where and why? What about citizenship, politics? Compile a medical history. What are your Words To
Live By? What is your philosophy of life? What advice would you give your descendants?
Completing Your Life Story
You're done! Well, almost done. I hope you have been collecting other memorabilia to include with your life story. Those would be: photos, letters,
postcards, awards, newspaper articles, certificates, and other documents connected with your life.
You can scan these items or make photocopies. Keep originals in a safe place and insert the scanned or photocopied ones into your life story. They can be put in one section in the middle of your story or interspersed throughout your book--whichever you choose.
Don't forget putting your old mementoes and souvenirs to use--they can be terrific mind-joggers. Yesterday I found at the bottom of an old box a single floral card addressed to me in my maiden name. Immediately the remembered scent of that gardenia corsage, sent by my husband-to-be over 40 years ago, came back to me.
The things we keep, we keep for a reason,--but who else knows the reason but you? Write about the mementoes you have and what they mean to you.
Pretend your grandchild is standing there attentively listening to your story (we know in real life they are probably playing a video game, but they will someday wish they had been listening) If you can visualize a tender audience of one small person, chances are you will write great memories.
As you write, remember to include dates. If the exact date escapes you, try putting it between other researchable events, such as "Before Joe was born but after we bought the '56 Chevy" or at the very least: "The 50's"
Remembering the Other Stuff
What should you do about the events which you are hesitant to talk about, but which you still feel need to be put down in writing for "the future?" Write it down and keep it "under separate cover." Store it with your wills or insurance policies. Someday, someone will find it and you will have the last word!
In the meantime, enjoy the infinite pleasure of reliving your life in all its variety through this life story project. You will find, I think, that the work of organizing and thinking through your unique life moments is far outweighed by the joy you and your family will derive from the completed work.
However it is done, plain or fancy, remember that you have the good luck to be able to do this. Many don't get that chance, so enjoy the process as well as the product. My hope for you is that when you finish, you can truly say: "It's A Wonderful Life!"
Best Wishes, Amy Kenneley