: June 5, 2022 Posted by: Maureen Comments: 0

By Maureen Santini © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

This is Chapter 11 in Write Your Life Story for Posterity, summary of your life story. The final chapter.

By following the decade-by-decade method advocated by this website, you have preserved the library of your life and times for generations to come.

Congratulations!

Now is the time to write a summary of your story. Chapter 11 presents an opportunity to blend the information from each decade of your life into a unified whole.

Feel free to write about influences and currents running through your life that were instrumental in molding your character and path. The following are just a few ideas.

Review Each Decade

You’ve just finished writing about each decade of your life, compiling a treasure trove of information. When reviewing each decade, you may discover patterns, turning points or transitions. Explain your interpretation of these pivot points. For instance:

  • Your living situation changed.
  • You retired or lost loved ones.
  • Your longtime residence or routine changed.
  • Your health or the health of a close family member changed.
  • Your way of life or your occupation changed.
  • Your outlook changed, such as attitudes toward people, job, lifestyle, or social issues.
  • Your view of yourself in the family and in the world changed.

These changes are likely to encapsulate the high points, low points, and turning points of your life.

The late Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., founder of the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at the George Washington University, has noted several phases people pass through at various times in their lives. These include a search for meaning around midlife, an effort to free ourselves from earlier limits starting in the fifties, a desire to give back through philanthropy and volunteering in the seventies and eighties, and an impulse to remain vital, a desire to go on even in the face of adversity, in later years.

Whether or not any of these phases resonate with your personal story, it can be useful when writing the story of your life to identify key moments that resulted in significant change and to explain the meaning you attached to them.

Highlight your greatest achievements and proudest moments, your happiest and worst times, your regrets if any, and things for which you are grateful.

Witness to History

We’ve all lived through historic events that changed us, our families, our communities, our nation, and our world.

  • Select the most significant local, national, and world events that occurred during your lifetime. Describe the way they affected you and your family.
  • Expound on issues and situations that you were passionate about or that changed your life in important ways.
  • Chronicle major inventions that changed your life.

The Lighter Side

On the lighter side, list a few of your all-time favorite things such as places, possessions, pets, hobbies, foods, poems, books, art, colors, movies, cars, clothing, residences, hangouts, and so forth. Explain the significance of your choices.

Write down stories you’ve heard from your parents, grandparents, and other family members as well as stories you’ve told over and over about yourself or others.

You’re an Author!

Consider sharing your document with close friends and family. Their comments may jog your memory and/or clarify details of main events.

Finally, write down “need to know” information for family members, such as the location of your will, your financial accounts, your insurance policies, and your wishes for your funeral. You can keep this document in a separate place but be sure your family members know the location.

Your descendants will be grateful to you for passing down your life story for posterity. Encourage others to set aside time for life story writing by sharing these posts and by commenting on this website.

When the chapters are done, set your book aside for a few days. Allow a friend or relative to review and comment. Read through it to catch and correct errors. When you are ready, have your life story book bound at a local copy shop. Get several copies so you can share your masterpiece with family and friends.

Congratulations! You’re an author! Well done!

Note: This post has been updated from the original.