A Lasting Legacy: Writing Your Life Story

February 23, 2018

UntitledTelling Your Story

Over the years, your words and wisdom have no doubt helped shape the lives of those around you – your children, partner, colleagues, and even fellow Sterling Court residents. Each of us has a unique set of experiences and resulting life lessons, and the practice of sharing these can forge new friendships, deepen existing relationships, and impart insight. One way to share your story is to write it down as part of a growing trend called “life story writing.” 

The Benefits of Recording Your Story

It has been reported that those who write their life stories often find a new appreciation for the people and events that they have experienced in their past. The act of reviewing and recording memories allows you to tell your story from your perspective and, as a result, realize how distinct and important your life has been. You may recall a previous struggle that you successfully overcame or a significant goal that you achieved. The process of reviewing these memories can strengthen your self-confidence and improve your attitude toward confronting new life challenges.

How to Start

The task of writing your life story may initially seem daunting, but there are no rules for how to format or record your tales. The trick is to just start writing. Whether you put pen to paper or use a computer, start by recording a single event, something that sticks out to you, or a story that you have told many times before. Once the words start flowing, writing will not seem as momentous a task, and you can go back and reorder your stories later.

Another helpful tip is not to get hung up on spelling or grammar when first transcribing your thoughts. When starting out, it is more important to open your memory floodgates and get reacquainted with writing than to capture every word in a print-perfect form.

Lastly, another good way to get the ball rolling is to conduct a personal interview – either of yourself or by enlisting the help of a friend or family member to interview you and record your answers. Here are a few interview prompts that may jump-start your memories:

  1. What personal accomplishment brings you the most pride – parenthood, a home you built, a business you started, etc.?
  2. What is one of your best childhood memories?
  3. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?


The practice of life story writing is expanding as new generations with an interest in preserving their stories enter retirement. There are several resources dedicated to helping storytellers pass on their memories, including books, websites such as A Life Untold and Your Life is Your Story, and even community classes right here on the Peninsula.


No matter how you go about it, the practice of recording your life story is sure to help you gain a deeper perspective on your past, as well as serve as a cherished gift to your loved ones that they can pass down to future generations.

Read this article and more in our February newsletter.

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850 N. El Camino Real San Mateo, CA 94401 Phone: (650) 344-8200 Fax: (650) 344-7395 sarah.stcharles@sterlingcourt.com

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