: October 27, 2018 Posted by: Maureen Comments: 0

By Maureen Santini © All Rights Reserved.

This post is the first in a series that demonstrates a simple way to write your life story for posterity, decade by decade.

There are many ways to write a personal memoir or autobiography. This website is devoted to writing for posterity. The point is to preserve as much information as possible about your life, your way of life, and the times, for your family and for future generations. Remember, the lifestyle that seems ordinary to you may seem anything but ordinary to future readers.

This website shows you how to write a book about your life using a foolproof, chronological formula.

In case you aren’t quite ready to pick up the pen, consider the reasons why you should write your story

For everyone else, let’s get started.

Your first decade covers the time from your birth until your 10th birthday. The goal is to write down everything you recall about this time.

Infancy

Begin by writing down everything you know about the day you were born: your full name at birth, the name of the birthplace, the date and time of birth, the city and state, the names of your parents.

Fill in birth weight, color of hair and eyes, birthmarks, nationality, citizenship, parents’ citizenship, birth order, names and ages of siblings, religion, street address and type of residence. Add related facts such as whether you resembled or were named after anyone and why.

If you were baptized, record the place, date, and names of your sponsors, along with memorable activities.

Capture in writing everything you know about your infancy, such as general development, physical characteristics, health, and personality. Throw in developmental milestones such as when you began crawling, walking, talking, and any other notable events.

Identify those who had the most responsibility for your daily care and upbringing. Describe memories pertaining to people, places, things, events, and your overall circumstances.

School Days

Children typically are four, five, or six in preschool and kindergarten, six or seven in first grade, seven or eight in second grade, eight or nine in third grade, and nine or 10 in fourth grade. 

For each grade, write the name of the school, city and state of the school, your mode of transportation to school, names of your teachers and favorite playmates, favorite (or dreaded) subjects and extracurricular activities. Mention anything distinctive about the school, such as distance from your home, or its noted history.

Detail particular memories that stand out, such as teachers going the extra mile and fun activities.

Recall when you suddenly realized you were good (or not) at certain subjects and activities such as sports or music. 

Try to recall which areas of study you particularly liked and which areas you found difficult, especially if any led to thoughts of a future career. Describe achievements and challenges.

Family Life

Describe in detail your family life during your first decade. Note your parents’ occupations and the birth of siblings. Describe your relationships with siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Try to recall special events and challenging times.

Mention specific happenings such as a new bicycle, a family trip or a family move to a new location. Describe your routine during the week and on weekends and holidays.

Recount family events such as birthdays and holiday celebrations, and civic events such as parades. Specify favorite toys, parties, games, pets, clothes, movies, television programs, hobbies, music. Expound on whichever categories were most prominent.

List your main activities such as skating, playing with dolls, sewing, video games, baking, singing, and/or sports.

Characterize your role at home during each of these years as well as the general tenor of family life. Explain family expectations regarding rules and chores. State whether you routinely helped with such chores as cooking, dishes, cleaning, or yard work.

Write about both positive and negative events and influences as honestly as possible. Everyone experiences times of disappointment and tragedy. You may find that going beyond the facts and filling in personal details will give your story depth and authenticity.

Describe your first jobs, such as babysitting for siblings or neighbors, delivering newspapers, or mowing lawns.

Detail those family members who visited frequently and those who visited infrequently and what those visits meant. Mention acquisitions that changed life such as a television or car. 

Since lifestyles can change drastically from generation to generation, try to describe in detail your way of life, including activities with your parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives, especially if such activities are not typically part of family life these days.

Current Events

If you became aware of local, national or world events during this decade, try to pinpoint turning points that triggered your awareness, such as controversial elections, relatives going off to war, international crises, or school drills.

If you remember additional details in the days ahead, add to the chapter as memories occur. 

Now that you’ve begun this adventure, sharing your thoughts on our website may help others decide to try it. We welcome your comments.

Since our mission is to convince everyone to write their life stories, we would be grateful if you would share these posts on social media and with friends and relatives.

Writing about your second decade is next. 

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Note: This post has been updated from the original.