Written by: Devon Noel Lee
So, how are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? It’s mid way through January. Have you forgotten them? Are you working on them?
Have you thought about a resolution that relates to recording your memories in a Footprint for your family, your neighborhood, or the world?
Today, you can make a New Year’s Resolution that you will keep and will have a big impact on your future. And it’s so simple you’ll be glad you made it.
Are you ready?
Write just one memory – right now.
Before you finish reading this post, grab a recording device and preserve a memory right now. That memory can be about a family member, about your childhood, teen years, or adulthood. It could be something that happened this week.
The memory could be a description of a person, a place, or an event. It could be embarrassing, funny, nostalgic, or insightful. It can be a brief memory or it could be one that is lingering.
Pick just one memory. And pick the one that first came to mind as you started reading this article.
Do you have a memory in your mind right now?
Then write about it. Write about it with pen and paper, using a tablet or a computer, or voice record it. Voice might technically not be “writing,” but think of it as writing with your voice.
Go ahead and write about it right now.
Are you still stuck trying to settle on a memory because the list had too many options?
Here’s an idea: pick a relative you knew that is the farthest back on your family tree. Did you know your great-grandfather? Did you know your great-aunt? Did you not know your real parents or grandparents but you have someone who is like a grandma to you?
Pick that person and write the ideas that come to mind when you think about them.
Do you remember the things they said? Do you remember their physical appearance? Do you remember the smell of their hair, their home, or their garden?
Do you remember their occupation or where they lived? Do you remember something they did with you that made you love or dislike them?
Pick any of these triggers for that relative or sudo-relative and write about them. Once again, you can write long hand, with technology, or record yourself telling the story orally.
Are you done?
For those who have recorded their memory, was it difficult? Did it take very long? The answers to both is likely, “Not really.” Some of you laughed. Some of you cried. But everyone who took the time to write one memory can now say they have kept their 2016 New Year’s Resolution.
Let’s all give you a huge round of applause! (Can you hear it?)
For those of you who haven’t recorded your memory, why should you?
Far too often people talk about writing the stories of their families or themselves in terms of someday. But someday rarely comes. Or someday comes when so much is forgotten. Or someday comes when there is little time left.
However, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The way to capture and preserve your personal or family history is to start with one memory. Of course, after you write one memory, you’ll need to write more and more. But you’ll notice one thing with that first memory. You’ll notice that a small memory is easier to write than to attempt to write a personal memoir for yourself or about an ancestor.
Keep this one resolution and you’ll soon be adding more and more memories. You may soon have a book full of memories written in your hand. What a treasure that will be!
You’ll have something to review when things aren’t going so well in your life, or the life of a loved one. You’ll have a collection of stories to share with your grandchildren and the genealogists in your family. You will have captured your life and the lives of others, and that will have a huge impact in so many ways.
You will be so glad you kept this resolution.
This year will be a great year for capturing your personal stories. They may be worthy of being shared privately on Americas Footprints. They may just be something you keep close to the heart. Regardless, you can keep one New Year’s Resolution right now – start writing.
After you have written your one memory, come back and let us know what you wrote about. You don’t necessarily have to share the entire memory, just the general topic.
Looking forward to seeing what memories you record.
Family historian, author, and home schooling mother of five, Devon Noel Lee has 20 years of genealogy and memory keeping. Her purpose to is help others capture and preserve their family history before the stories are lost forever. You can learn more about Devon’s passion for family history on Amazon.com and on her blog at A Patient Genealogist.