No ordinary life

Posted February 4, 2008 by Peg Thompson
Categories: life story writing, personal history

Everyone has dozens of stories, large and small, happy and sad, funny and painful, that shouldn’t be lost because you think your life is ordinary. It is not. Your stories will bring alive times past for your descendants and enrich their lives by knowing the family stories of their ancestors (that’s you someday).

Ronnie Bennett,

So many older people believe that no one would be interested in reading their life story, because they have led just an “ordinary” life. So they wonder: Why go to the trouble of putting it on paper?

In truth, there is no such thing as an ordinary life. Every person

  • Loves and is loved by people along the way–and lives are changed in the process
  • Meets many challenges and overcomes most of them in their unique way
  • Learns valuable life lessons that future generations will need
  • Lives through amazing changes in culture and history
  • Contributes to the larger society–whether through work, raising children, church or social involvements, or hobbies.

Your descendants will want to know who you were and what you were like–not just your genealogy, but your stories and your wisdom. Knowing about you will tell them a lot about themselves.

Life story starters:

1. Take the statements above and do a little reflecting or writing about one or more of them. Who has loved you, and whom have you loved. How has that changed lives? What challenges have you met in your life, and how have you coped with them or overcome them? What wisdom have you gained? How has daily life changed in your lifetime? How have you contributed to our society?

2. Imagine being able to talk with your grandparents or great-grandparents. What questions would you ask them? Write your questions down. This will tell you a great deal about what your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will want to know about you.