A Life Story is about experiences – Nothing else

by Ian

in Conversation, Podcast, Prompts, Sharing Stories

Your Life is Experiences.

“History is one damn thing after another” – Winston Churchill.

The life of everyone is a continuous stream of experiences. Some exciting, some dull and many simply mundane.

Your story in history

What was your story on those historical days?

For the greater community it’s the exciting experiences that capture us. These events take us to new places and show us new ways of living. The listener is taken into the world of global events, through your eyes to experience first hand what is only written about in history books. An example would be… What was the reaction in your community to the declaration of war and the joy of the end of the various conflicts? How did life change for you in your home life, career and community and how did you learn of the great joys and tragedies from these global events?

What Have Your Seen?

What was it like to watch one of those pivotal events of history on television. Encouraging events like the first lunar landing in 1969, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990? Or the tragedies of the assassination of the Kennedy brothers in ’63 &’68??, the death of Princess Diana in ’97 and the 911 events. What were you doing? Where where you? What was your reaction? Sharing your experiences of these historical events transports the listener to that era and what you felt. They can then learn of what it was like to live through those times and have empathy for your experiences.  Maybe you were there, first hand, to see such events so can speak from experience.

Vacations in the past

Exciting Holidays for some

Within context, even the dull and boring events of our lives can have value for sharing. Stories can explain the tedium of an occupation that wasn’t enjoyed by contrasting the more interesting times in our lives. They can be used to build the drama of a story through the experiences of how an eventual event can unfold. An example would be years of work to support a wonderful family life and a glorious retirement.

The routine of life that shows how things change

Outside of the tedious and the wonderous experiences of life, is the forgotten normality that we all have in our lives. The “Nothing special”, parts of our lives that we forget about from day to day. These are the things that have some of the richest pickings for the history of a family and a community at large. They tell of how a community interacts and achieves on a daily basis slowly evolving over the decades.

Your Life in the past

The everyday is interesting when we look back

  • Think of three meals that you now, regularly prepare. Now consider the three meals that you regularly had as a child. How different are they? What are the different ingredients, preparation methods and environments.
  • How are children educated today compared with your education?
  • How did you start your working life compared to how do people enter the workforce today?
  • Compare before and after the introduction of a new technology. ie Automobiles, electricity, television, mobile phones…

It’s not so much the comparisons across the generations but the fact that at certain times in history the routine of personal, home and work life say a great deal about that era. Preparing meals during the rationing of wartime Britain says a great deal of the deprivations of that time. It’s that understanding that is fascinating for others to learn of. From that understanding comparisons can be made of the differences between eras.

Two wonderful things are achieved in sharing experiences.

  1. An understanding of the character of period in history within a community
  2. Reflection and comparison with today of a time long ago

When you’re considering your Life Story topics consider all aspects of life, some exciting, some mundane but all tell the story – “One damn thing after another”.

What do you think? Is it only the large stories of life that are worth telling or is the mundane just as valid? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

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