Life is crazy with deadlines, to-dos, dependents, and deliverables. With our heads and hands bogged down in the trenches, we often lose sight of the bigger picture. Where are we going but also, where did I come from?
Here at Memoir for Me, we take that second question to heart in everything we do.
Our own life stories are shaped by our past, including the younger version of ourselves looking for acceptance from peers, seeking love, becoming independent, launching a career, or raising young kids without losing our minds.
Our stories are also shaped by the people who came before. Grandparents who immigrated here for a better life. Parents who worried about providing for their family. Living ancestors who have experienced joy and loss and have moved through life before us. We're not the first ones to go through it, and we won't be the last.
Unexpected self-discoveries happen when we pause and consider these life stories. I have seen this time and time again during interviews, whether I’m talking to a 90 year old looking back on his life, or a 40 year old reflecting on her career path.
I haven’t thought about this in ages.
I forgot all about that.
I never put it together until now...
My earliest example of this was my very first interview: my father. As his youngest child, all I knew about his working life was that he was in sales and based on our home and standard of living, I assumed he was pretty good at it. It wasn't until I had asked my father about the start of his career that I really got the whole story.
It wasn't all closed deals and successful pitches, especially at the beginning. My dad worried about keeping his job. He stumbled more than a few times, saying 'I failed spectacularly.' Hearing his stories of struggle and hard work made me love and appreciate him all the more.
Like many provider-dads, he sacrificed a lot of himself to give my brothers and I the feeling of security and stability that was not always a given. He didn't want us to worry about where the next paycheck was coming from, or know about the sleepless nights he endured when his career wasn't going his way.
Hearing his work stories made me think of my own bumpy career, filled with some wins but a lot of misses, too. I feel a lot less shame about my own struggles knowing I'm not alone in them. I hope my kids feel as safe and secure as I always did growing up, but that they learn that success comes from a lot of false starts. Someday they'll hear my story and connect their own dots between generations.