Are You Writing It Down?

I have gone through a lot of transition the last few months in my personal life and my business has picked up considerably. All of this change has been good. There have been some stressful moments with the personal stuff but I made sure I took some time to write it down in my journal. I do not wish to repeat past mistakes in the future.

Last month I started writing a set of books for one of my client’s family. The book I’m writing for his son will be a three set collection at this point. Volume I will be the family history narrative. Volume II stories, recipes, and analysis of data. Volume III is a photo book.  The more I get into the stories and analysis – beyond the canned reports that come with the genealogy software, and think about the daily lives of this man’s ancestors, the more I think about my life and my journal.

Are we documenting our daily lives? Are we documenting both the bad and the good? I tend to write in my journal when I’m upset about something and rarely write about the good things. That is something that needs to change. Am I writing the “bland” details of my life like what I typically eat during the week or the fact I love coffee or that I enjoy reading and sitting outside under a tree to relax? What about the things I like to do when I’m not working like seeing movies, learning something new, playing with my kids, socializing with the neighbors? What about the things my kids like to do? Chances are, as boys, they are not going to write in a journal anytime soon. HA! I make photo albums for them and include letters about things they do or what we’ve been up to, but it isn’t as in-depth as a journal entry.

Do we write about our friends and those people that mean the most to us?  I do. I have a very good friend I met last year who has brought a lot of wonderful things to my life. You know how some people enter your life for a reason – some stay, some leave. He’s one I think will stay. He’s made me think about a lot of things, challenged me to see life in a different way by asking deep random questions, opened my eyes to new books and music, been an incredible supportive listener as I go through this transition, and made me laugh (especially at times when I was near tears.) He is someone I will always treasure – a gift from God.

I also have some very special girlfriends who have brought so much joy, laughter, fun, career challenge, support, love, and spirit to my life that I’m not sure what I’d do without them. I write about them in my journal too. Especially when one in particular who lives far away, but “knocks me upside the head” and makes me see “the light” about whatever big problem I’m facing. That friendship has lasted over 17 years and 13 of those I’ve lived far away.

What about our wishes and dreams? Do you write that down? Don’t you wish you knew what your great grandmothers’ dreams were? Did they wish for anything other than to be a mother, wife, housekeeper? Did they wish to travel? Will my descendants be interested in knowing my dream was to be a professional genealogist and author for the last 13+ years? That I finally made that dream a reality through a lot of hard work in the last two years? Is it easy? No! Is it worth it? YES absolutely. What about my dreams to travel? What about my wish to leave something good behind when I’m gone?

What about our fears? What did my ancestors fear? War? Drought? Famine? Death? A new life across the ocean? I often wonder what they thought, felt, and discussed as they immigrated. What did they think when they got to Chicago? Was it the life they dreamed of or nothing like that at all? How did the mothers feel sending their sons off to war to have them never return? How did they survive that horrible grief?

These are things I’d like to know about my ancestors so why am I not writing them down about my life for future generations? Or if I am writing about these things – am I doing it enough so my descendants will know what was important to me. The struggles I faced and how I came out the other side. The people who were important to me and why. The dreams I had and whether or not I accomplished them or life had some other plan…….

So……..Are you writing it down?

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