6. Ask Question. Listen.

On December 31, 2017, my grandmother passed away. She had 92 years of life and experience. She lived through prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II (and many others), the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement of the 1960’s, the birth of modern technology and so much more. She was able to watch the world change drastically through her many years of life. And oh, the stories I am sure she had.

When I started this project, I asked my mother to get my grandma thinking about her piece of advice. Unfortunately, I never got to ask her myself. This piece of blog advise is something I suppose she is passing on to me postmortem. Ask questions and listen to stories. Hidden within those stories you will learn about history through people who have witnessed it first hand, you will be provided with gems of advice and you will have something to hold on to when that person is gone. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not ask enough questions and I did not listen to enough stories. As with so many things in life, we take them for granted and only truly realize what we have after it has left us.

So while this post will be short, I believe the message is strong. Sit and talk to those who are special to you in your life. Few things, if any, last longer than a story, longer than a memory. Write these down, so when you begin to forget you can look back and when you are gone these stories can continue. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles ask them questions. If you are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles write your stories down. Nothing is insignificant, it is a glimpse back to your life before what is now. Something to cherish, learn from, laugh about and hold on to.

Grandma, I am sorry I did not ask more questions and listen more carefully. Despite this, I do have some of your stories with me and I am lucky enough to still be able to hear the stories that you have passed to others.

“I wish I had realized that family history is a perishable commodity. It disappears with time, as memories fade, and as loved ones pass on. I wish I had known that the most important aspect of family history is preserving a record of the present for the future.” -Guy Black

And one of my favorite quotes from The Doctor.

We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? -Steven Moffat


This is Thirty.