This Is Your Life…

When I was younger there was a TV programme here in the UK called ‘This Is Your Life’, with the premise that host Eamonn Andrews would surprise a well-known celebrity ‘live’ with a big red book containing the story of their lives as told by friends and family and photographs and anecdotes. The ‘lucky’ star concerned would then be taken to the studio set to sit in pride of place and as their life story unfolded page by page over the next half hour, as all other guests involved in the secret would come through the door to tell their part in the tale to date.

But I often wondered – that’s all very well if you have a nice straightforward successful life moving seamlessly from childhood through adulthood to a fantastic future filled with fame and fortune. But what about the shadowy bits of your past that perhaps you’d rather not re-live, people that once were important to you but who you no longer speak to by choice, places you’d gone to you’d far rather sweep under the carpet, or things you’d done that you wish you and everyone else would forget?

The show has been cancelled for years – I don’t suppose there’s much call for that kind of famous personality ‘reveal’ show any more. With social media and so much public sharing of what was once so private, much of everyone’s past is already accessible online and anything worth knowing has already done the rounds of the gossip rags if not loudly proclaimed on Facebook. And anyway, everybody worth anything in public life writes their autobiography nowadays. I do love reading people’s personal life stories – if it’s someone I like, of course.

I still wonder, though – what do you choose to put in, and what do you leave out? And how do you write it? Do you write a kind of personal essay, a timeline of important moments revealed in chronological order, or do you build your life story as a series of little vignettes linked by factors other than time? I mean, with me the things that most people would most likely like to read about from my life are the very things I’d rather avoid being out in the public domain altogether. The bits I wouldn’t mind sharing are the boring bits no-one gives a toss about.

I think it might be fun, though, to have a go at chronicling choice bits of my life – only the bits of my life I choose, mind – in words and pictures and mementos and memories. Make my own style of ‘This Is Your Life’ book just for me, and maybe even for my grandchildren to see one day. Snippets and stories and silly stuff to share, for no other reason that I’m alive and having a life matters, even the most boring of lives. Start somewhere, with something – I was born, I grew up, I started a blog – and see what happens… 🙂

One thought on “This Is Your Life…

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