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Tips for writing your life story

Have you ever wondered how long you are going to live? Now that I’m headed to 90 and residing in an assisted-living facility, I’ve been asked to answer that question. I haven’t answered mainly because there is no answer. What will be, will be, and I already have lots of other things to occupy my time.

Without the responsibilities of living on my own, it was suggested that I write my life story. My first reaction was absolutely not. I felt I wouldn’t be able to recall very much of what has happened in past years. However, a good night’s sleep made me think about the possibilities, and I decided to check in to the challenge.

I was offered a plan to write my own story with the possibility of putting it into book form to be left for my children. Starting was the hardest thing to do. After the first step of writing an opening statement, I still thought I would have a hard time writing very much. I soon found out I could sit down at my computer and easily spend two or three hours writing and talking to myself, with an occasional laugh out loud. Some days memories will pop up having nothing to do with my current subject. I quickly make a note on the side, since my early dementia doesn’t give me the liberty of recalling something I may want to include later on.

I’ve always had a habit of thinking that others would enjoy what I am doing, and arm twisting is one of my tactics to get someone interested in my current activity. Even though you may not be thinking about retirement yet, are you just a little bit interested in this idea?

How would you start? Preferably with a computer rather than pen or pencil and paper or typewriter (what is that?). The advantage of Lady Spellcheck constantly looking over your shoulder makes the computer your friend. In addition, when you start and then get disgusted enough to give up, don’t delete. Use that ever-handy save button.

I’d be willing to put money on a bet that you will not be able to stay away from this project. I have found that one good memory will remind you of another and another.

I’ll also bet you haven’t thought once how long you are going to live. That is great since we really don’t have any way of knowing anyway. I say write on and live.

Nancy R. Fox lives in Medford.

Be a columnist for a day

Do you have something to say? Do you have a humorous take on current events or an insightful angle on the seemingly mundane? Maybe you have a view of life that will help us all see things a little more clearly. If so, email your 500-word column to features editor David Smigelski at dsmigelski@rosebudmedia.com. Please put “Columnist for a Day” in the subject line, and include your phone and city of residence. The rules are simple. Keep it short. Have a point. Don’t cuss. And make us glad we asked. If we like it, we’ll run it in the Sunday paper.