You are unique. The way you see the world, the things that happen to you, your story – it’s a one time thing. There will never, ever be another you. This alone is a perfect reason for you to document your life. But I get it, it sounds cheesy, easy to say but hard to put into practice.
This is why I like to rephrase ‘documenting your life’ as storytelling or better still, just memory saving. Capturing memories and moments. Savouring your life. Becoming an Everyday Storyteller by writing down the parts of your life that you want to keep forever.
I believe everyone has a book in them, but more importantly, I believe everyone has stories in them. Little snippets of truth and hope. Lessons and ideas. Happiness and gratitude tied up the day-to-day everyday magic.
The Benefits of Documenting Your Life
It’s not even about the big stuff. Yes, the red-letter days are important, but we need to remember the pints that turned into nights out, and the coffee catch ups that spilt into dinners, because what if that person disappeared tomorrow? What if today is really all we’ve got? What if our lives changes in an instant and we’ve taken for granted that there will always be time? What if we simply forget?
I always want to remember how I felt, how I made others feel, because it’s really all we’ve got. The time we’ve spent, the memories we’ve made, the life we’ve lived. We’re not actually promised anything else.
There are lots of reasons why you should document your life, it’s important on so many levels. Did you know there are lots of benefits too?
- If we keep too much in our head, we don’t leave space for anything new. When you document your life and your stories you clear space for ideas, for plans and for new memories. You’ll find you can see special moments with more clarity, and it’s this noticing that makes them special.
- Stories help us tell the truth. When we look back on events and memories, we can have the freedom to say how they made us feel, what we learnt. We can be free to say, ‘this was hard’, or ‘this was the greatest day of my life (so far)’. Stories allow us to be honest. You don’t have to share your memories; you don’t have to show anyone. But you do have to tell the truth. Don’t hide or tone down your life. Tell the truth in all forms of the word. And in telling your truth, you’ll find freedom.
- When you start documenting your life with stories, you start to see the parts of your life that you love, the parts that make you come alive, and it helps you to know who you are and what you want. It will show you what brings you life and joy and you work to bring more of this into your life. It will allow you to be grateful for these things too. Documenting your life can bring increased gratitude. Write about what you love.
- Pass stories on. Imagine leaving a notebook of stories for your loved ones, they could know you and your life. What a gift. A benefit of documenting your life is the creation of a written legacy. Stories really can last a lifetime.
- When you put your life on the page, one of the biggest benefits is perspective. You see your world from a new viewpoint as you document your days. You can gain distance, if that’s what you need, and you can gain clarity. You can see how important a person was, or how special a day was. This perspective can change everything.
I believe documenting your life slows down time. Reliving moments at the speed of typing or moving your hands across the page. It’s a great way to actually feel time passing, to feel your life happening. To notice the small things that make life big.
How Do You Document Your Life?
I’m rubbish at remembering. I can’t even remember why I popped to town unless I write it down, so why do I think I’ll remember all the stories that made up my life without documenting them?
You write it down.
Slowly at first. Just snippets of stories and memories, the red-letter days that you don’t want to forget. And then you go deeper. The harder parts that changed you, the difficult days that ultimately, you’re grateful for. The stories that made you who you are. The Truths that you know.
- Use pictures. Randomly select some images from your phone and write about that day. Then go through childhood pictures, or even old albums on Facebook. There are hidden stories, waiting to be documented everywhere.
- Keep a story diary. A story diary can be a simple as a sentence a day, what happened? Why is it story worthy? Hint – every day can be story worthy if you let it.
- Start with gratitude. If you don’t know where to start with documenting your days, start by listing the things you’re grateful for each day. You’ll soon find some stories.
Ask yourself, what memories do you want to treasure?
Start Documenting Your Life Today
My life is no more interesting than yours, perhaps mine, is even a little tame, simple some might say. But the reason I have lots of stories to write about, the reason I have things to say is because I look for them.
I document my days so I can notice my life. So I can recall and relive the great days of the past, so I can experience the present day in full, knowing I’m soaking up every moment. And so I can plan for more adventures in the future, detailing the stories that I want to write and taking the steps I need to make them happen. You can do this too.
Start today. Start with the smallest, most specialist memory you want to save. Don’t be embarrassed or scared. You won’t take away from the moment if you save it. You won’t change it. You’ll just freeze-frame it. You’ll document it forever.
Stories From A Backpack is a place that celebrates the process of documenting our life through stories. You don’t have to see yourself as a writer to want to document your life. You can start to save your memories and share your story today.
Become an Everyday Storyteller by writing about your life. Your story matters and Stories From A Backpack is here to help you live a life worth writing about. Join our monthly newsletter to become an Everyday Storyteller with us. Or buy the book Everyday Storytellers and learn how to turn your memories into stories.