A thank-you, a love letter

The initial drafts of List Your Life: A Modern-Day Memoir were quite lengthy. It wasn't until I was well into the writing that I realized just how briefly I would write the lists in their final form.

My confusion and drifting about how to approach the writing became clear once I decided on the format of LYL. It was to take the form of thank-you letters, love letters, so to speak, to acknowledge all the love, influence, encouragement, and support that moved me on my path. I began taking stock of important moments in my life, things that made me happy, and I gained a deep sense of thankfulness. I decided I wanted to show my appreciation to those who have informed me on the way to today.

I thought about those who gave advice, those who celebrated me, those who cradled me through sadness, those who gave me patience to understand, those with whom I find the fun — they are all mentors as I strive to be my best self. I realized how uncommon it is to actually thank people, genuinely thank them, and that is where I put my energy.

It was rewarding to put myself back into some of the most important moments of my story. It felt good to revisit and savor the memories. Days go quickly and memories fade, and it became important for me to put my appreciation into words. Creating a gift to give was something I could be proud of.

Each entry was approached with the feeling of a personal letter. I labored over each, falling back into the scenes — some as recent as last year and some from a long, long time ago. One memory led to another, and the stories grew. I made lists of key moments and key people, and they sorted themselves into various topics. Those topics, I realized, were rather relatable, and that led to the listing strategy that I decided to share.

I love cards and stationery, and I used to send written notes on a regular basis. Somehow, likely with the advent of email and social media, I stopped. Completely halted, I'm afraid. And that absence of true heartfelt communication and connectedness guided me into LYL. While each entry is a thank-you, it is completely gratifying to know that I've shared my heart.

Photo by Edda Pacifico
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