There has been much discussion on this blog about the benefits of writing a life story. The process of remembering, reframing, and sharing difficult life events is hugely cathartic and oftentimes memoir writers speak of the healing and resolution that come after their stories are complete.
But, just as importantly, writers speak of the benefits of sharing the happy stories. Recalling periods of joy in detail allows writers to relive a time in their life when all the pieces fell into place, when life was just…good. Not only is it a pleasure to evoke these memories, it is a pleasure to share them. To allow others to witness your joy along with you.
I think of this every time I watch the TLC program, Long Lost Family. Each episode follows two separate individuals as they search for a relative—usually a birth parent or child—with the help of the show’s hosts. First, we meet the searchers. Parents weep for the infant they gave up decades earlier and children tearfully question why their mother or father walked away from them. Often these individuals have spent years futilely searching on their own, hoping to fill the “hole” that lives inside. Wishing with every fiber in them that they could have answers, that they could meet their loved one again.
The hosts then jump into action, scouring the Internet, accessing DNA databases for genetic matches, searching birth records and high school yearbooks at local libraries.
The show ends, of course, with a happy reunion. Parents and children holding onto each other with all their might. Bountiful tears. Almost without exception, searchers share that the hole inside is finally gone. They have their answers. At last, they have found their “long lost family.”
While I am certain that the producers scrap many searches that do not end well, we viewers always see stories that are heart-warming. We get to witness a life-changing moment in every episode, a moment that will serve as a permanent salve for these once-pained individuals.
So…what have been your life-changing moments? Maybe they haven’t been as obvious or television-worthy as those on Long Lost Family, but certainly you have had some. The birth of a child? A long-sought job promotion? A moment invisible to the eye—a dream or “light bulb moment” that resulted in a permanent shift?
Whatever your life-changing moments, however dramatic or subtle, be sure to share those in your story. Act as the director of a television show and convey the history, the moment of change, and the less-discussed “what came next.” Was a hole inside filled? Did the joy remain forever?
As a life story professional, I am skilled in helping you uncover these life-changing moments and sharing their impact on your journey. Please let me know if you’d like my help.