Apologies to all for my rather sparse blog offerings this year... I suppose that Life has been so busy in the 'real' world, my 'virtual' world has suffered a little!
This year, I've had the pleasure of working with some really lovely people, helping to capture their Life Stories. I've also been collaborating with Surrey Age UK, looking at how we can offer a free Life Story Service for those who will benefit most from this fun and rewarding process. Hopefully more news about a pilot project in the New Year...
For now, most of my attention is focussed on all things 'Christmassy' and every year our family traditionally heads to the London theatres. This year was no exception and we all enjoyed the Old Vic production of "A Christmas Carol." Perhaps not all my attention was focussed on Christmas, as it also set me thinking about the 3 ghosts of the Past, Present and Future.
I suppose that in writing a Life Story, it's a little like being visited by the 3 ghosts. Without exception, we have parts of our past we want to celebrate, along with other parts we'd rather forget! However, it is our past that undoubtedly shapes us. Although we tend to focus on the positives in the finished book, just thinking about our past can help give a context to the negatives. This can be tremendously therapeutic and also offers a real sense of achievement that we've 'got through' the negatives and come out the other side.
Thinking about the present is also an incredibly useful exercise. It can help clarify what is truly important in our lives. I always say that I enjoy cooking- but when I stop and think about it, I can't remember when I last cooked for friends or learnt a new recipe? I'll have to add that to my New Year Resolution list...Almost all my clients report back on how unexpectedly enjoyable the process is too. It's a real team effort and producing a beautifully crafted book is a tremendously rewarding project.
Finally we have the ghost of the future- what would we like to see? We can't predict what will happen to us in the future, but a Life Story book guarantees that your treasured memories won't be lost. I firmly believe that spending time writing your Life Story now, is a huge investment in your future. Your book may become your most important tool when meeting new people, so that they can properly understand your story. Or it may simply become the most treasured gift you can give to your family- capturing their history and stories in your words and pictures.
In the final scenes of the play, Scrooge pledges that he will "Honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Perhaps he was thinking about writing his own Life Story book... what a super present that would have made for his Nephew Fred, Bob Cratchit and of course, Tiny Tim!
And so, as Tiny Tim said, "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"
Rachel has a wide range of communication expertise, having worked as a researcher for numerous BBC TV and and radio programmes, and also working as a Government press officer. More recently, she published a novel for young people, "War Pigeon, Peace Dove" www.warpigeonpeacedove.com.