Perhaps you’ve heard this idea before. A few years ago I read “the dash” poem by Linda Ellis:

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

Think of a tombstone. And the birth and death date on that marker. What’s between them? A dash, of course. Those of us who do family history spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out a lot of dashes for our ancestors.

But what about your life? Have you spent much time documenting “your dash”?

Earlier this week on Family Search’s blog there was a post entitled, Define Your Dash: Start Writing Your Personal History with the #52Stories Project. They wondered if most people have given much thought to what their legacy will be. Then they challenge people to reflect on their lives, collect their thoughts and make sense of their experiences.

There are benefits. It’s therapeutic. Patterns can emerge. It could reveal a sense of purpose and control in your life. It should provide gratitude. You may find a stronger sense of self. And it could even make you happy (happier!) and more successful in your daily life.

No matter which reason may prompt you to begin this journey, go read the blog post. And see if it doesn’t inspire you to start a journal, or a weekly blog post. Or check out the #52Stories Project on Instagram (@FamilySearch) and the FamilySearch Facebook Page.

Lest it seem too difficult, insurmountable, or you suffer from but what will I write about-itis, let me say it’s divided into manageable bites. Twelve themes with 12 different questions under each theme.

As the Family Search blog post says:

Your Story Matters

Start filling in the details of your dash now, while you’re still in the middle. Discover the power of shaping your own personal history, strengthening family bonds, and yes, leaving a legacy.

“A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory,” said Dennis B. Neuenschwander in a 1999 LDS general conference address. “What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family. Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.”

What have you got to lose?

Better yet, what do those who come after you have to gain?

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