What do you do when you come across journals, letters or personal stories written decades ago by a stranger? Do you throw them away without looking at them or do you take the time to read them?
As for me, I’m innately curious. I’m excited to discover a bit about the past and what was important to the writers, so of course I take the time to read such documents.
A year or so ago, I was pleasantly surprised when my uncle provided me with a small stack of typed papers by a man I’d never met and someone my uncle only vaguely knew. My uncle gave the papers to me because he didn’t want the man’s story to disappear: The man did not have a living spouse, never had children, was an only child, and none of his extended family was still alive.
In this instance, you might wonder why the man even bothered to write his memories. Indeed, when I speak at retirement communities, there’s often at least one individual who approaches me afterward to say they’re interested in the idea of writing their life story, but they don’t think they should bother because they don’t have any children or grandchildren to give it to.
Perhaps you believe that about your own story.
However, I believe – and the author of these papers appears to have agreed – that everyone has a desire to be remembered and, even more importantly, to share what’s most important to them. It’s not a selfish act – it’s a valuable gift to others, both now and in the future.
If you’ve never considered writing your life story and doubt the importance of sharing your experiences, download your free copy of 3 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Life Story.
Indeed, my grandmother, who cleaned the man’s house and ran errands for him for several years before he died, believed his story was so important that she kept the papers following his death.
After my grandmother passed away, my uncle believed the story was important enough to retain for another ten years before giving it to me with the hope that I could help share it.
Curious to discover if I had the legal right to do so, I contacted the attorney who closed the man’s estate. The attorney confirmed that the man has no close living relatives and I was given the green light to share his story.
The Importance of Your Stories
Will this gentleman’s story appeal to everyone?
Not everyone is a fan of nonfiction, and not every nonfiction reader likes memoir and life story.
However, it will attract readers who have ever lived in western Pennsylvania, and it will pique the interest of readers who value firsthand accounts of early to mid-twentieth century life.
In short, the man’s story provides a unique, invaluable historical record that simply can’t be created by anyone else.
The same is true for your life story.
Your future readers, whether they be family members or the world at large, will thank you for it. Even if you don’t think your story is extraordinary, know that there will always be at least one person who will value your story and your life experiences.
Don’t keep doubting.
Download the free resource, 3 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Life Story and start writing your legacy.