Why you should create your memoir

In the past, people valued human connection enough to write reams of letters by hand, and faithfully pass family stories from generation to generation, orally and on paper. Meanwhile, the thoughts, beliefs and life stories of public figures were carefully preserved in archives all over the world.

Today, we’re in the midst of communication miracles that people in bygone days never dreamed of. Yet we’re becoming the first people in history who are not creating, preserving and passing along our own archives.

Yes, we’re phoning, emailing, texting and Skyping incessantly. But these exchanges are often just inconsequential chatter. And even when we do have more meaningful conversations, what we say disappears over a phone line or into cyber space.

So the question is: Do you want to be part of a mass march to oblivion? Or do you believe that your life journey has sufficient value to be recorded and preserved for future generations to cherish?

Need more convincing? Think about this: How many of us don’t even know how our family came to live where it does. Or where or when our grandparents were born? Or what our uncles and aunts did for a living. Or what was happening in the world when we arrived on the planet. Not to mention which human values our predecessors struggled for and held dear over the years.

The cost of this breakdown in communications isn’t just to our future heirs, but also to people living today. The disconnection and discontinuity between individuals and generations has resulted in unprecedented alienation, lack of communal purpose, crime, and a massive loss of what the French call joie de vivre – the joy of living.

Can writing your life story help alleviate this archival crisis? Yes it can, in the same way that each tile in a precious mosaic contributes to the whole. Bottom line? The stories you save will save you – and maybe even our civilization.

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