- No one else can write a story about your life as accurately as you can. You know yourself better than anyone else. For example, family members probably know when you were born and married, and where you lived and worked. But unless they directly ask you, they will have no idea what your childhood was like or what you were thinking during your first job interview.
- Reflection often brings better understanding of past experiences. Celebrate your accomplishments, but discuss the difficult aspects of your life as well. When we are in the middle of a difficult situation, we’re often in survival mode – focusing on how to get through the ordeal. It’s only afterward, sometimes years later, that we come to understand the meaning of the situation and how we grew from the experience. In addition, reminiscence is a growing trend that in some cases can improve cognitive functioning, reduce depression and increase self-esteem.
- It’s a way to impart your morals, values, hopes and dreams to future generations. Facts are important and serve a purpose, but being willing to go beyond the basics to share your advice and beliefs will impact others in a much more meaningful way. Be honest – wouldn’t it be nice to know that future generations will get to know you as a person, rather than just another name on the family tree or some face in a photo album?
- You have a unique connection to the past. Social norms, geographical locations and popular trends helped to shape your life. This is where photos, letters, memorabilia, recipes, awards and more turn your story into a one-of-a-kind historical artifact.
- You can become the link to the past for family members who are now deceased. Even though it may be too late to obtain a first-person interview with your great-grandmother, you can document your own memories of her and ask other family members to share their recollections of what she was like.
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Dalene Bickel is an author, book coach and speaker who helps aspiring authors successfully write, develop and self-publish their books.