In Thanksgiving

I had no idea how writing List Your Life: A Modern-Day Memoir would show me how thankful I should be for my life. Days go by in a flash, and somehow the years are tumbling past, and it was only after I'd gathered up some of my memories in writing that I took proper notice of just how many people and experiences have brightened my path.

Not that I wasn't thankful. I have always known that I've been amazingly fortunate to have had people all along who are kind and loving, and I had enough presence of mind to recognize that I get to do a lot of good living, but I was completely surprised at how my mindset shifted after writing a few lists.

Long writing had always been my goal. I've practiced fiction forever, but I wasn't arriving at something I was happy with and willing to pour myself into. There are some great seeds of ideas that I think I will someday cultivate, but, for the time being, it just wasn't working. So many stops and starts, and a feeling that I wasn't doing enough or producing the right way.

But then, once I started writing for myself, I found a kind of writing that warmed my heart, soothed my soul, and gave my gratification…I started writing letters of Thanksgiving. I searched my memories, I jumped back in time, and then way back, and found that it was the most rewarding writing I had ever done, so I went with it.

Stories upon stories rushed in, and I knew I'd finally found the writing that would make me happy. After allowing myself the freedom to chase that idea, writing was easy and fun — I liked going back to the beautiful dessert that Jon made me (which also created a blow-torch-induced burn in our kitchen table). I'd forgotten the simplicity of running through my grandpa's garden, and only in arriving at that memory now did I come to realize the monumental guidance that's driven me since those days.

And the list form? That made it all the easier to write quickly and feel like I was getting somewhere!

I was a bit naïve to have been so unaware of the depth of influence that those memories, those wonderful people, have had on me, and I was oh, so thankful to take the time to appreciate all the ways that I'm connected to those individuals. How even today, little things from long ago, little things that those individuals may not even remember — how those things mattered then, and still matter today.

In realizing how much memories matter, I began to wonder if others would find short writing more approachable, too. I realized that I would love to know the stories of lots of people important to my heart, and I thought they, too, might discover their stories and receive this same wonder for themselves and their lives. And that, finally, brought me to the place where I wanted to share.

I am so very thankful, the words cannot convey how thankful I am, for the time, space, and support to create this gift for myself, and I hope that others might find List Your Life as the motivator to unlock some of their stories and discover the celebrations of their lives, too.

Photo by Edda Pacifico
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