# 12: Ninth of 15 Steps to your LIFE LAYOUT

10Oct09

You’re going to write the story of your life in 30 minutes!  It’s the last information-gathering step.  I think you’ll find it the most fun of all.  The steps that follow this one are for actually creating your LIFE LAYOUT and will focus on capturing your future in a way that is engaging and ever-present.

Before you re-invent your life, take a last comprehensive look back to review the lessons you have learned to date.  We have no intention on dwelling on the past.  This activity, as daunting as it may sound, should only take 30 minutes to complete.  And it calls for crayons, the bigger the box the better (ok, map pencils if you are one of those…).

So, while there may be a few, uh, rocky moments as we view the past, we won’t be unearthing repressed memories or dwelling on past regrets.  It is, however, a view that deserves some respect.  And that is what we are going to do.

Your Story of My Past will be colorful (unless you had a totally peaceful past, which I doubt or you wouldn’t be re-inventing, you’d be on your knees thanking God).  It will also include drama, music, and a cast of your choosing.   What will make it even more special, besides the fact that it is about you, is that it will also be true.  At least true from your perspective.   And that is all that matters here, your perspective.

So nab the kids’ school supplies, grab a sheet of copy paper (or even better, construction paper!), pick a quiet, alone time and hop to it.

A.  On a piece of paper draw the diagram below, substituting the number of sections in the top half of the circle for the number of distinct periods of your life.  The diagrams shows five sections, but you can have as many sections as you like.  Your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect.

For example, you may want to include birth through high school (age 0 – 18 years) as one section, college, young adulthood, and first job (19 – 28 years), as a second section, birth of your children and young family (29 – 35 years) as a third section, and a fourth section for a move to another city or job, or other milestone (36 years – present).

B.   In the center circle sections: write the age you were during each of the periods you are including.

C.  In the next inner circle sections: write the key persons who most influenced that period of your life.

D.  And in the final and outermost circle sections: write the key events that defined that period.

E.  On the outside of the circles:  write for each section the music genre or song or singer or band that personifies that period of your life.  You might write, for instance, the popular music of the time or the lyrics of a song that best describes what was happening in that part of your life.

F.  Now color each section a hue that seems to relate to that period – whatever color comes to mind.  (Notice how careful I’m being not to stifle your creativity…)

G.  Final advice:  Work alone.  And move quickly.  You’ll find this easy to do because the format is so simple.  Do not over-think this but do attempt to re-create the frame of mind, the people, the places, the decisions, the overall mood of each period of your life as you progress.

Note One :  The bottom half of the circle will be blank.  It represents the possibilities that exist for you in the rest of your life.

Note Two:  I did not create this idea myself.  I adapted it from Ruth Kanin’s book, Write the Story of Your Life, available on Amazon.

Story of My Life

When you are through, you will have fashioned a one-page illustration of your life so far.  How many people do you know who have managed to do that?

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