The headline above should read: The Grumpy Old Man Starts a Journal, AGAIN. I bet I have started “Journaling” a dozen or more times. Now, at 72, it’s time to get serious.
One of the first things you should do in Genealogy is to ask your relatives. Usually that means getting information from a Grandparent or a relative that has lived a full life, and has a lot to remember. But what if you are the Grandparent or relative that has lived a full life, and no one asks?
The reason I have had so many starts and stops was that I wasn’t sure what to write. I would write repetitive details of what I did each day, such as what I ate for breakfast, when I went to work, when I came home, and what I watched on TV. Rinse and repeat as “They” say. Nothing novel and nothing worth mentioning.
I talked to “The SEEKER,” and he gave me a “BFO,” (A Blinding Flash of the Obvious). Write the things about your life that answer the same questions you’d ask a relative.
What would you ask a relative? Well, you would probably ask where they were born, what Job(s) they worked on and what they did for fun. You could ask about marriages, kids, and siblings. How many there were and who were they? Where did they live and why did they live there? And you could ask about their special talents or skills. (When I was MUCH younger, I rode Bulls, Bucking horses, and danced Ballet. I’ll be you wouldn’t have guessed that combination!)
Instead of asking them, just ask yourself instead. Tell the story of your life. The ups and downs, the mishaps, the victories, the ADVENTURES and the mundane. When I say mundane, I don’t mean what you had for breakfast, but little things that show insights into who you are. Things that are personally memorable to you.
Your journal does not have to be a diary, it can be more like personal history. Think of all the questions you’d like to ask your ancestors. Then answer them in your journal.
At 72, I have a lifetime of memories. Memories that let my descendants know who I am and how I lived. Memories that should not be forgotten.
As I start my Journal, again, I have one regret. I should have started a journal years ago, as memories tend to fade. The memories are there, but I can’t remember specific names or dates.
You don’t need to be a Grandparent to start to document your life. As the saying goes: When is the best time to plant a tree? Answer: 20 years ago. When is the next best time to plant a tree? Answer: TODAY. It’s your story. Don’t let it wait. Begin today, even if it’s only one memory at a time.
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