I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately (mini update: I’m up to 42 for the year!! And I’ve started logging ALL my books… will do a bigger update later). Because I’ve been in BookTok and StoryGraph communities a little more, I keep adding books other people are suggesting to my “to read” list. There are a lot of biographies and autobiographies of very interesting people I’d love to know more about. But recently, I started reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I won’t spoil it, but basically a super famous movie star finally decided to have someone write her biography.
At first, I was intrigued. How amazing would it be to be the “normal” person hired to listen to this amazing woman’s accomplishments and write them down? And then I went to work. I have had a continuous job with an older lady who is downsizing to move out of state and go back home. Every time I go see her, we talk about her life. Her story. She doesn’t think it’s anything special…and I guess it isn’t. Everyone has a story to tell. By the time we are in our 80s, there are probably thousands of adventures -small and large- that kids in their twenties will be in awe to hear. But this past week when I was helping her purge her pictures, my heart started aching. Here is this wonderful woman who has managed companies and loved many people… and she has no one to share it with but a complete stranger. In her words, there’s no legacy to pass it on to so who cares if she throws everything away?
ME!! The answer is me! I care! If she wasn’t moving in a few weeks and I was more of a writer, I would love to write her story. From flying in planes with her dad to her wedding in Hawaii. I want to absorb all of her stories like a sponge. But she only shares what she thinks is important… and what could be fascinating about a “normal” person? After all, she isn’t Marilyn Monroe or Bill Gates. But isn’t that the point? How many billionaires and movie stars are there in comparison to every day people? I have more of a chance to find something to inspire me about this woman who has paved her way through life than any famous person who either had life handed to them or have a super special talent that isn’t in my wheelhouse.
I was on the phone with my brother the other night. As usual, it was a 4 hour conversation about anything and everything. At some point, we got on the conversation of our family tree and our grandma’s story. I was young when all of my grandparents passed. We started asking “where did grandpa and grandma meet?” “How old were they when they got married?” “Was he in the Navy yet?” which lead us to “Who was this obscure relative grandma lived with?” “Wait…which of her siblings died when?” and so on and so on. I realize that as a kid, it’s hard to understand what a life story is and how important it is. But I still wish I had a chance to sit down with her and ask these questions myself. Thank goodness my brother loves learning this stuff as much as me because we learned so much in this short research session (thanks mom and ancestry.com!).
After all of this, I realized how much I don’t know about the people around me. I do have return clients, but most of the time I’m with someone new every day. I have the opportunity to learn SO many things about SO many people…. If they feel comfortable opening up to me. And my parents lived full lives before me! Yes, I know this should be obvious…. But sometimes it’s hard to see your parents as something other than just your parents. A few years ago I got them a book to fill out about their story. When I gave it to them, I was just excited to learn. Now I feel like it’s the only way I’ll be able to hold onto my own story. Their past is my past. If anything had gone just a little differently, I wouldn’t exist in this life as I know it. If my grandma hadn’t gone to take care of some elderly relative, she wouldn’t have started working at the same company that my grandpa worked and maybe they never would have met and had my mom. How many “what-ifs” are out there?
All this is to say, your story is important. My story is important. Every day may seem a little boring to you. Get up, go to work, do the things you need to do….And yes, I would LOVE to have more adventure stories about traveling the world. But… If I hadn’t gone to work at the shitty companies I did, maybe I wouldn’t have had the worst few months in my life that encouraged me to start a business. And if I hadn’t started that business, maybe I wouldn’t have the opportunity to sit in my favorite coffee shop on a Thursday and think about my life and how lucky I am to have my home and my family and my boyfriend. I think our “every day” stories are way better than all those autobiographies of people I’ll probably never meet. So write it down, because some day your kids, grandkids, friends, and neighbors will love to learn all the things you didn’t think were exciting. I’d love to hear it too 😊 As always, if you take any fun pictures or videos, tag me on Instagram @SmileMakePeopleWonder and use the hashtag #DandelionSmiles. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss out on the next exciting idea.