By Laura A. Roser
Join Me in Mapping Out Your Life
Last year my fiancé and I began planning our legacy together. A part of the process is thinking about important memories. But my fiancé, like many people, had never spent much time thinking about turning points in his life. It took a process of discovery and me asking him question after question to uncover his “golden stories.”
One day we’re staring at the harbor in Juneau, Alaska, and talking about his life. “When I was fourteen or fifteen,” he said, “I was at a family party sitting around a table with a bunch of people. Someone threw a bottle of peanuts at the table.
“Everyone ducked, except for me. I instinctively reached up and caught the bottle. My father, who was sitting next to me, looked at me and said, ‘I can’t believe you caught that. I would have never even thought of that. I would have never even tried.’
“It was in that moment I realized I didn’t have to make the same decisions as my father. I could be my own man and take risks my father never would have tried.”
Now … The interesting thing about this story is that my fiancé never realized the meaning behind the story until he told it to me. This process of looking back at his life and thinking through crucial moments helped him to see greater insights into his life. And it’s helped him to live now with more purpose.
That’s what happens when you dig out stories from your past. They help you make sense of your life and create a more purposeful future.
“Mundane” Stories Are the Most Interesting
Often when I speak with people, they say things like, “My life isn’t that interesting.” Or “I haven’t done anything impressive.” Well, catching a bottle of peanuts at a dinner table isn’t that impressive either—that is, until you hear the story and realize what was going on in my fiancé’s head, then it has another level of deep significance.
Your stories are interesting because of your perspective. They give your family (or whoever is listening) a glimpse into your psyche and how you view the world. Something you think is mundane and totally boring, could be fascinating to your listener. Those little details—such as how your favorite teddy bear lost his eye or why you decided to only wear pink shoes in elementary school—open up a world of intrigue.
Your stories matter to your family. They help them understand you and also understand things about themselves because if you tell your stories right, your loved ones can apply the wisdom to their own lives in their own way. Sometimes you won’t even realize one of your stories had such a significant impact (or even how it impacted them). But the more you start thinking about the small events that led to you down your life path, the more significance your life will have.
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Laura A. Roser is the founder and CEO of Paragon Road, the #1 authority in meaning legacy planning. For more information about meaning legacy planning services, visit www.paragonroad.com.