Twenty Years of Stories

birthday cakeToday I turn 34. And that should be a relief, because 33 was my scary age, but for the first time in my life, I’m getting regular shocks of “I’m old.” 

The first time was earlier this month, when someone made a reference to high school, and I realized that I’m now twice the age that I was when I graduated. (Technically I was almost 18, not “just” 17, when I graduated, but still. Point delivered.)

The second time was at my endocrinologist’s office, where my doctor was debating the need for me to endure a difficult test to check for hidden cancer markers, and she finally determined that it was unnecessary because “You’re twenty years out from the diagnosis.” That one made me freeze in my paper gown. Indeed, I was diagnosed just before I turned 14. That means it has been twenty years since the most defining event in my life.

I spent a few days panicking over getting older.

But then I realized something.

20 years is a significant amount of time. In 20 years, I survived cancer, graduated high school and college, chose a career, fell in love, got married, bought a home, and became a parent. I also lost loved ones, made new friends, traveled to interesting places, and found my passion for writing. I figured myself out. I discovered new things. I learned, and I grew.

So yeah, I’m getting older. But that carries one big perk: with age, comes experience. Compared to my 14-year old self, or even my 17-year old self, I have a lot of stories to tell.

It might be time to consider writing a memoir.

How about you? How old do you think a memoirist needs to be? How much life experience is required? Do you feel ready to write one (or have one written about you)? 

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