Me? Write a Memoir?

senior woman with notebook ready to write a memoir of her life

“Many people think their lives are not that interesting. Yet we all have stories to share. They tell us who we are, who we were and why it matters.”

If you are looking for a way to make a difference for your family, a keepsake to pass down to the next generation, why not write a memoir – the story of you?

Your story is more interesting than you might think. Writing a memoir is a meaningful way to add value to your family, honor the loved ones who have gone before and reflect on your life and legacy for your kids and grandchildren.
The word memoir should not be intimidating. Think of it simply as a collection of short essays expressing what’s important to you. These might be the stories you often tell already, or the stories of people, places and things that you wish your family members could have known. What stories do you want to pass on? Remember those moments in your life and create a valuable story collection and history for your family.

Storytelling and the creative act of writing are enriching

There’s another less obvious reason why writing your memoir is valuable. It’s the sense of accomplishment, and the practice of creating. The writing process itself can be remarkably enriching. When done as part of a structured class, you add the benefits of reading your work aloud, revising, sharing with others, and building community.

An opportunity for self-reflection

Creating your own memoir honors your personal history, one that stretches back for many decades. It might include experiences as varied as your first day of school, your first day of college and your first day on the job. Then there are the personal milestones – the first time you saw your future spouse, the day you walked down the aisle and the first time you laid eyes on your new baby. Every one of those memories is worth remembering and recording.

The value of writing your memoir

This kind of memoir writing exercise can be a meaningful project to tackle in retirement, and in a post-COVID world telling the story of you has become even more important. If there is one upside from the pandemic, it may be that so many families spent a great deal of time together. Maybe you were quarantined with your adult children as they were forced to return home from newly closed colleges. Maybe your grandchildren were suddenly living under your roof, and you were face to face with the future of your family.
Conversely, maybe you were missing your extended family intensely, anxious to hug your grandkids again and wondering when you would be able to see them in person. This forced isolation and self-reflection was part of the pandemic, but you can use it for something more.

Anyone can write a memoir

You can tell the story of your life and create a lasting legacy for your family even if you are not an experienced writer. This kind of project is all about passion. If you need a bit of polish, and some inspiration to get started, a structured class can help. How? From simple tips to assist storytelling, and to identifying significant moments in our lives, to what our stories tell us about our purpose and legacy.

Leaving a legacy in retirement should mean more than passing your 401(k) down to your kids or writing your will – if you truly want to be remembered, putting your life story in writing is an amazing gift to give.