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Sarah Stultz: Write down your life while you still remember

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I’ve always heard from a young age the importance of keeping a journal. As a teenager, I wrote in a journal fairly regularly, but as I have grown older, it is something that went by the wayside.

I used to have a blog in the early years of my family, which in a sense was kind of like a journal, posting photos and updates for other family members. Now, of course, I post photos and things on Facebook highlighting major life events.

I’ve also had these columns, which have probably been the closest thing to a journal I have had in recent years.

A few weeks ago, my sisters helped set my dad up with a subscription to StoryWorth, which is a company that gives you a year’s worth of story prompts, and each week you answer one of the questions about something related to your life. At the end of the year, all of your stories and photos uploaded are made into a hardcover book — practically an autobiography.

So far Dad has had topics such as houses and apartments he has lived in throughout his life, if he had any great pranks or funny memories, his fondest childhood memories and the happiest moments of his life.

I have enjoyed each week receiving email notifications that a new story has been turned in and then going in and reading the stories that my father wrote — some of which have been familiar, and others which included information I had not known, or at least not to that degree.

I’m not sure if I have a horrible memory or if I really haven’t heard many of these stories before, but they have been great to read and have given me a further appreciation for my dad, our family history and my own childhood. Reading the stories that involved my sisters and I was like walking down memory lane, and I felt myself smiling a few times as I remembered about what he wrote. I’m sure there will be sad stories later down the road, too.

This book is going to be a treasure when it is complete.

The whole process has had me thinking a little about starting up a journal again — you know the paper and pen version instead of the kind on the computer.

Journals can be however in-depth we want them to be. I’ve seen journals that talked about daily happenings such as the weather all the way up to journals that talked about the highs and lows of life and how that person struggled, or at other times overcame, life’s challenges.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my life thus far is that there are often others who can benefit from the lessons we’ve learned during our own life experiences.

Sometimes those people may be in our own families, and other times it could be a stranger we have the opportunity to meet. 

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.