We know that people often have the best intentions about writing their memoirs. It is something that so many of our friends and family intend to do and yet it is something that many people put off indefinitely. This is most understandable. It is difficult to take time out to undertake such a task and even more difficult to write about your own life. So where on earth to start?

To make life a bit easier, we have put together a questionnaire for you to use as a starting point to record key details about your life. We have compiled it using questions that we would have liked our grandparents to have answered while they were still with us. I would have been thrilled if my grandfather had filled out all the answers to this questionnaire. For one thing, I would know where he was born (I can’t locate his birth certificate) but also, key details about his life, which are now completely lost to me. And even more interestingly, I would have had the benefit of sharing some key reflections on his life – for instance, what his one wish would be, how the world changed during his lifetime, his best day on earth.

Our advice is that even if you do not record anything else about your life, print this document out now and start filling it out. Take your time – do one question a day if that is what it takes. It may be that the process is so enjoyable that it prompts you to start recording your more extensive memoirs. But even if it does not – no great drama – make copies of the questionnaire and give it to your children and grandchildren. Talk to them about your life. Start a dialogue about the history of your family.

And if this notion offends you – because you don’t think anyone will be interested in your story or you do not feel comfortable talking about your life – then just print it out and leave it in a drawer somewhere, for your family to eventually find. In my opinion, it would be the ultimate gift to loving family members. I know I would have been so happy to have found this information about my grandparents. I would treasure it with my life. So print our autobiography questionnaire out today and start pondering and answering those questions!

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