It’s time to capture your memories – for you and for others. Here’s 7 great ways to do it. Posted on October 23, 2018October 26, 2018 by Peter Meadows One thing every retired person has is memories – lots of them. And they are a precious resource to be treasured and passed on. As David Winter says in his book The Highway Code to Retirement, ‘Without leaving your armchair you can travel back through time, to childhood and schooldays. You can recall old friends and glorious holidays. Relive the excitement of your first love, the amazing miracle of the birth of children, fulfilling spiritual experienced, happy times with loved ones.’ David adds, ‘Sitting there you can capture afresh the laughter of children, the tears of parting, weddings, baptisms, parties, and special moments. And so much more.’ But such memories are not just precious to us, they are important to others too – especially our children and, perhaps even more to our grandchildren. There will be a time when they want to know more about their own past which is, of course, wrapped up in ours. And part of the privilege of retirement is having the time that’s needed to record all this for others. And it’s not hard. More than that, if it’s a collaborative process – especially if you have grandkids old enough to be involved – this can be a very enriching project. So here are some things you could do – 1.Scrapbooks and albums. This may be the simplest way forward. Without doubt you’ll have a bunch of old photographs gathering dust. But what about adding copies of birth and marriage certificates, old passports, school records, your Blue Peter badge and anything else you can get your hands on? Any hobby shop will have what you need to put this all into a collection. However, be aware that physical photos can fade over time. And there will be only one copy for others to fight over when you are gone. 2.Put it on your computer. It may be more of a challenge and take longer to put everything into a computer file – with all the scanning and such. But it will mean everyone can share in what you create, at any time, wherever they may be in the world, and for generations to come. Your old photographs or videos are probably not in the format you need. But slides can be copied digitally if you buy (new, probably £50 to £75) or borrow a slide copier. And those old Super 8 videos can be made into computer files. To find out how, just Google ‘super 8 conversion to digital’. If this all sounds like a step too far and way beyond your skill-set, here’s a great opportunity to ask grandchildren for help. They are likely to easily take the process in their stride. 3.Record your story. Sit in front of a microphone and record your memories. A way to involve your children and grandchildren is to have them ask you the questions about the past they’d like to know about. Or work through a check list like this one – Where you were born What you remember of your parents and grandparents Your first school and what you were good at Your first house, how it was heated, what your bedroom was like Your hobbies when you were young Your parents and relations Your first friends When you were most afraid Your proudest achievement How you met your partner Your first job Your faith journey What’s been important to you What you wish you’d known sooner One piece of advice you would pass on 4.Write an autobiography. It doesn’t have to get published but it will be a great activity for you and a treasure for those following in your footsteps. Google ‘how to write an autobiography’ and you’ll be surprised how much excellent help is out there for you. 5.Create a blog. This may seem complex but it’s no more than a journal on the internet that others can access. You’ll find examples at blogger.com. 6.Research and document your family tree. There are ‘how to do it’ guides that Google can point you to which will show how to access census records and more. There are also ‘you pay for it’ resources like Ancestry.co.uk or free sites like findmypast.co.uk. 7.Dig deeper through your DNA. For a reasonable price you can send a swab from your mouth and have your ancestors revealed as to which part of the world they came from and be matched with distant relatives alive today. A final word – be sure to save your memories while you still have them. They are a precious resource for you and those who will one day be as old as you are. And they will thank you for it. Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director. He uses his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives, enjoy his eight grandchildren, escape to Spain and to spend his kids’ inheritance. His DNA ancestor test was very surprising. Have you an insight on recording your memories of family history? Please share them here or with our Facebook group.