Reminisce on Your Life Story or Memoir

The Healing Power of Reminisce

To reminisce is to remember and recall with others. This is the fun part of remembering. You hear a story and you flashback and can add more details, or a different perspective on the subject. I have always associated reminiscing with laughter.

We have all got stories to tell and retelling or hearing again only adds to the texture and enjoyment for the storyteller and the story listener.

For many of us in this culture, we've forgotten how to share stories. This course and the upcoming book will not only encourage you in crafting your recollections about life but help you gain ways to capture the stories of others who have touched your life.

COVID-19 and the worldwide epidemic have caused many of us to realize our time on earth is limited. Never has there been such an interest in gathering the stories of our ancestors and leaving our own life stories for those who come after us.

There is an old African saying that I learned at the Association of Personal Historians that really resonated with my heart and hopefully, yours. "Every time an elder dies without sharing his/her stories, it is as if a library has burned down."

Reminisce With Your Parents and Grandparents

Now that the world is a little more confident about gathering with others, we can once again begin sharing our stories with one another. This is especially beneficial for our older relatives, as well as those who will learn from their stories and life experiences.

How many of you sit around during the holidays and listen to stories shared by your loved ones, such as grandparents or parents? Have you witnessed the emotions expressed by your loved ones? Listened to the details of the story and even added your own memories, without contradicting the storyteller? Even if you have heard the story before, it is important for you to be an attentive listener, because reminiscing serves a purpose in older adulthood.

Reminiscence involves sharing thoughts and feelings about one's experiences, to recall and reflect upon important events within one's life. Their shared stories do not have to be major turning points or life-changing events, but can also be about a Christmas or holiday they remember. Or mischief they did when they were young, or how they chose their mate.

The ability to recall and reflect helps older adults remember who they used to be in order to help them define their identity in the current moment. The stories of the past provide a source of affirmation, hope, and belief that their legacy will be preserved.

Mental Health Benefits

Besides the benefits of improving their self-identity, writing a life story will help them to understand that their have not been lived in vain because there will be a permanent record. With my work at Hospice, in gathering end-of-life stories, I came to understand that most people do not fear death nearly as much as they fear they will be forgotten.

They have shown reminiscing and sharing stories with others to protect against depression and loneliness. Overall, older adults thrive from human interaction and meaningful conversations. And, in my own humble opinion, we all benefit from sharing our stories.

Call your older relatives and friends and reminisce today. Gather their stories and add their perspective and views to your own life story or memoir. Not only will you add depth to the tapestry of your story, but you may also very well remember events and experiences you had forgotten.

Story Starters

1. What is your earliest childhood memory?

2. Who were you named after?

3. Do you remember any stories about your grandparents? And their parents?

4. What was your father's occupation?

5. Describe your mother? What is your favorite memory of her?

6. Other than your parents, was there an adult in your life with whom you had a close relationship?

7. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did that dream come true?

8. Did you discover a talent for any type of music, art, making friends, math, or other areas of life?

9. What the first car that you drove?

10. How did you earn money? What was your first job? Did you like it?

Have fun reminding with family and friends and either take notes or turn your cell phone into a recording device by doing "speech to text". You will be so glad you did and so will the other storytellers.

(c) Judy Helm Wright–Author/Historian/IntuitiveWiseWoman

Hello and thanks for choosing to join us on this exciting journey of capturing stories, our own and others. This section is on reminiscing and is one of my favorite ways to do storytelling. Reminiscing is always filled with emotion, both laughter and possibly tears. This is not a solitary activity, but involves others who will share their stories and then you adding additional anecdotes or facts.  This enriches the story as well as the storyteller and the listener.
Keep writing and I will keep reading.  Join us at

Reminisce on Your Life Story or Memoir