Our next door neighbor is 94 years old. She is a wonderfully positive and generous woman. She lives alone. Before this past Christmas she told Clare and I she had written an autobiography of sorts. A history of her and her family's life. She wanted to share it with her grandchildren so they would know her role, and their roles, in the family story. Problem was, she had this treasure of a life story on one hand written notebook and no means of typing it to make multiple copies for her many grandchildren around the country. Clare volunteered to take care of it. I helped. We sat at the kitchen table, Clare reading aloud and me typing away.
As we sat together following her struggles of loneliness, great change and great joys all mixed together, it became overwhelmingly clear that all our lives - no matter how long - have a beginning, middle and unavoidable end. They are a story. But do we ever stop to think about where we are in our own story?
If we were to stop where we are and read our short history up to this day, would we be interested? Would anyone else? Did we create moments that we want to go back and read again and again? Did we experience things or create memories that others would tell in their stories? Are all the characters interesting? Does our plot ever thicken? Do our stories contain lessons learned, battles fought for good (no matter the outcome), romance, comedy and the tragedy that only comes with love so strong it makes us completely vulnerable?
Do we look back at chapters of our story and say "that was really smart" or "that was the prudent thing to do"? Maybe. But more often we look back and say "that was really STUPID". Those are the moments that stick out in our lives because those are moments when we grew and our plot thickened.
So be stupid. And maybe watch this at the beginning of each chapter:
Oh, and check out http://www.chrisbrogan.com/importance-of-story for a book that can help YOUR book!