What You Can Do Here

Everyone loves a good story. Long before there was written language, cavemen told stories by firelight, passing on the lore of their tribes to the next generations. When we elders were children, our parents read stories to us. At family gatherings, grandparents and aunts and uncles retold the incidents and events of our family histories. And today, we continue the tradition with our children and grandchildren.

Among Carl Jung’s seven tasks of aging is to find meaning in one’s life and one way to help in this task is to pull together, piece by piece, one’s memories – great and small – into a coherent storyline. In doing so, there is a natural shift of our attention inward, says Jung, leading to the removal of regret and to reconciliation. In telling our stories we not only fulfill Jung’s task for ourselves, we pass on the wisdom we have gained to those who listen or read.

“Storytelling is one of the great pleasures of life,” writes Dr. William Thomas, “its sweetness enhanced when the story is used to transmit a bit if wisdom.” He continues in his book, What Are Old People For:

“Muriel Rukeyser once wrote that ‘the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.’ I would like to add a corollary: ‘Stories make the best wrapping for any gift of wisdom.’ When a thought is easily translatable into a story, it probably holds a good bit of wisdom. This is why computer-programming manuals are never made into feature films.”

Now, there is The Elder Storytelling Place – A Time Goes By Weblog, where we can share our stories with one another.

This website is a natural adjunct to the main blog – Time Goes By: What It’s Really Like to Get Older. So many good stories have already been told there by guest bloggers and in the comments that I wanted a permanent place for us to share them.

With your contributions, this will become vital gathering place for us to enrich our knowledge and understanding of life as we remind ourselves and tell one another of what we have done, where we have been, how we have lived, who we have known and what has happened - and is still happening - to us in our journeys from cradle to old age.

So tell us your stories. Here is how.