Being Bruce -: The Importance of Story in My Life

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Importance of Story in My Life

Marge and I have an exercise that we've heard of several times in our lives, listening to speakers, attending personal development workshops, and reading in that same field. The exercise is about one's own life story. Often the starting point is, "Write your own life story at the age of 100", or "Write your obituary", or "What speech would you like an important person in your life to make on your 100th birthday."

Chris Brogan recently wrote about The Importance of Story In Your Life in his blog and it reminded me once more how useful and helpful it is to me at times to consider my life a story.

Now, if you're wondering, "Whaaa? What is he talking about? Is he in some other reality?", please allow me (to attempt to) disabuse you of that notion. Here's how it works, for me.

When I see my life as a story, with a timeline, characters, some drama, romance, and mystery, with settings and props, costumes, conflict, challenges, flaws, wins and losses, lessons learned, history and backstory, and all the other elements that can go into an epic novel or movie, it helps me keep perspective.

When I think about my parents and grandparents, all of whom have passed away, it's easier to see the stories of their lives overall than it is to see my own or that of my living family and friends. My mother was in a group when she was in her late 60s or early 70s in which she wrote her life story, to that point, starting as a girl growing up on a farm in rural Maine through many transitions and events including traveling to Russia, China, and Japan and experiencing many wondrous things. People were, frankly, blown away by her story and a few years later she wrote a sequel, catching the people up on more recent events and some realized and remembered people, events, and changes that had occurred throughout her life.

Blogging, in this personal blog, is a way I write my own story, as I live in the process of transition from being a person focusing on "doing" all the time to one who strives to focus on "being" and enjoying the moments as they pass.

I'm sure confronting one's life story works differently for others, but for me it's been about self-growth and understanding and providing a perspective and backdrop against which to weigh my current dreams, challenges, decisions, and opportunities.

So thanks once again, Chris, for a helpful reminder.