Two Reasons Why A Memoir Can Change Your Outlook On Life

August 19, 2016

Written by: Joe Fiduccia

I will be the first to admit that choosing to write a short story of your life is a task that many people have no interest in tackling.

It is difficult, it is time consuming, and it can churn up past emotions you may have no interest in resurfacing.

But sometimes this daunting proposition can also help change your outlook on life.  As it has done for me.

At most, I spend maybe one hour each month updating my Footprint. What’s crazy though is that I am not a professional writer or story teller.  I don’t do this for a living, nor do I have any desire to pursue it.  I just recall a moment from my past and write about it the best I can.

Sometimes the hands on the keyboard can’t keep up with the thoughts in my mind, and other times I walk away frustrated after only 3 minutes.

Now several years into this however, I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my Footprint grow.  What started out as a blank template has now matured into something much more meaningful.

Yes – it has enabled me to leave something of true value behind for my family, and yes – it has given me an opportunity to share the special moments and lessons in my life that I want to eventually pass down to my son.

But beyond the basics, I have realized something else.  My basic memoir has certain benefits I never even considered:

1) My Footprint has made me appreciate how special my boring life really is.

Let’s be honest: as it is with most of us, my life story doesn’t contain anything spectacular when it comes to “news-worthy” moments. I consider myself a loving husband, father, and a determined entrepreneur. But that’s it.

I lives in a normal middle-class community, I never served in the military, and I am not rich. I don’t drive expensive cars, I don’t have a big family, and I am not a celebrity.

I just do what I can each day to live the best life possible with what I am given.

So when I first created my Footprint, I wasn’t really sure what I would say. Because given my mediocre life thus far, I didn’t think I would have anything of value to share or write about.

But once I got started, that all changed.

I began recollecting stories I heard as a child, and experiences I went through in school (both good and bad). I started remembering some of the hard lessons I learned growing up, and what my mom tried to teach me along the way.

I started thinking of those “life milestones,” like the day I got my driver’s license, the first day I went to college, my first relationship break-up, and more.

And I found myself growing anxious to write about all of them!

I wanted to write about the first time I began earning money mowing lawns for my neighbors. I wanted to document the memories of the first official “date” from 5th grade.

I started remembering the many awards I earned in college and throughout my career, even if it was just a stupid certificate. I thought about the people I have met in life and the good (and bad) times we shared together.

But as the memories started surfacing, it finally dawned on me: my life IS special. I don’t need a lot of money or that celebrity status to experience the awesomeness in life. I already am awesome.

My life story is special, and I deserve to be remembered for more than just a random face in an old photo album.

2) I rest much easier at night knowing that my Footprint is there, even if I’m not.  

america's footprints

As the old saying goes, the only two guarantees in life are death and taxes. And while we at least have some control of the tax part, death is the inevitable fate for all of us.

No one knows if we still have another good 40 years ahead of us, or if tonight we will close our eyes for the last time.

And just in case that isn’t clear enough: none of us know have a clue what our future holds.

When I became a dad, my focus in life shifted dramatically. As I’m sure most parents can understand, my son became my world and is now the main reason I get up every morning.

It occurred to me very quickly that if I died, my mom would lose a son, my wife would lose a husband, and my son would lose a father.

But you know what? I’m OK with that. Because I have found comfort in knowing I have left something behind for them – my Footprint.

Sure there are the tangible items like the clothing, the tools, etc. But those things do nothing for the people in my family who will long for their dad, their husband, their son…just one more day.

Even if I never get to see the day when my son gets his license, I can use my Footprint to write a note of congratulations to him on this future achievement.

If I am no longer around to celebrate a loved one’s birthday, I rest easy knowing they can open my Footprint on their special day and see a video of me singing happy birthday to each and every one of them.

During those times when my loved ones need a shoulder to lean on, I find comfort in knowing my written words can become a source of inspiration when they need it the most.

And that is my way of continuing to be there for my family, even if life has other plans.

The possibilities of what a Footprint can do for you are endless. But in my case, I can honestly say I take comfort in knowing I have created a time capsule of these special moments and messages. And I already know my family will smile one day because of it.

All of us have a story. Isn’t it time our future descendants knew about it?