Life is full of twists and turns. Veer one direction and your life may turn out altogether different from the life waiting down the path not taken. Each of us has many of these decision points in our past. Let’s start examining them.
Make a list of the crucial events of your past. Some are obvious; others may not have seemed so important at the time, but turned out to be major influences in your life journey. Refer to your memory joggers as you make your list. Here are some types of events to consider:
• Military service
• Potentially dangerous situations
• Family crises
• Educational matters: choice of schools, courses of study, etc.
• Job choices
• Honors and achievements
Some of the events are more important than others. Identify those which had the greater impact on your life. You can rank the entire list, with No. 1 being most important. Add the list to your timeline.
Starting with the most important event, start writing about each one. You can write as much as you remember or just hit the highlights now. You can come back to it later as you put together your personal history.
As you write, be specific. Include as much detail as you can. Remember the who, what, when, where and why of each event. Consider, too, your reaction at the time and how it impacted you later in life. Don’t try to be fancy in your writing. Your written stories should reflect the same vernacular that your audience is accustomed to hearing.
Tomorrow: Taking note of photos.
This is Lesson No. 6 of a mini-course on how to write a personal history. The course will continue throughout May, which is Personal History Month. To get future lessons delivered to you, you may subscribe to our RSS feed or get e-mail delivery to your inbox. It’s easy. Details can be found in the column to the left of this
Flickr photo courtesy of hb19.