My 6-Word Memoir

Angel's Landing hike in Zion National Park.

Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park.

I’ve recently gotten back into regular journaling. Or maybe I should say that I’ve gotten into journaling, period. I’ve always tried, but never really been all that successful. For some reason, in the last couple months, the habit has caught on more so than it ever has before. I think it’s the right combination of circumstances (working from home, having a more flexible schedule) and motivations (my strong desire to write more).

In light of that, I wrote up an article for the Art of Manliness that is a 31-day journaling calendar. I think a lot of people would like to journal more, but just don’t know what to say. That calendar/guide won’t be posted until January, most likely. However, I’ve decided that I should go through the exercise myself. Duh.

So today I’m on day two. The prompt for day two (you’re getting a sneak peek!) is to write a six-word memoir. This supposedly started with Hemingway, but has caught on to be a little bit of a movement. As a painter paints within constraints (the canvas), so a writer can do with prompts like this. It forces you to think creatively and purposefully, especially when trying to sum up an entire life. It can quite easily point to and reveal what your values truly are.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much in completing this exercise, but I ended up on the other side of it being totally enlightened. That may be a bit too strong of a word, but at the same time, it may not be.

Blessed by life of ordinary adventure.

I really thought I would go through many iterations before arriving at a “memoir” I was pleased with. But this jumped right off the pen, almost instantaneously of me thinking about what I’d write. I thought and thought about how to change it — there’s no way I could “get it” on the first shot — but I just couldn’t come up with anything to modify. I loved it. I do love it.

Blessed. To say my life is blessed is the understatement of all eternity. My parents/in-laws/family/loved ones are incredible. I love my wife more than anything in the world. My job gives me satisfaction and enjoyment — something that not enough people get to experience. I don’t ever want to forget the unbelievable, innumerable blessings in my life.

Ordinary. On the outside, my life could seem to be quite ordinary. I went to college, am married, own a cute little brick house, have a steady job, etc. In many ways those really are ordinary things. But I’m totally okay with it. Lots of people want to be “world changers,” but real change in our world often comes from ordinary folks with ordinary lives who have a little bit of courage. In the midst of the ordinary, however, there is also…

Adventure. Even if things appear ordinary, they most certainly aren’t. Adventure is part of the DNA of our marriage. Our weeks are usually fairly “normal” – but our weekends are often spent in the mountains. We love to travel – more than just about anything else. Doing new things and enjoying life with food and drink and everything in between is just who we are. But even in the midst of the normal stuff, we live a life together that is overflowing with love and laughter. And there is something magical in that which makes every ordinary moment an adventure.

Without really realizing it, this little journaling prompt may have turned out what becomes a/the guiding vision or principle of my/our life. How wonderful and unexpected.

What would your six-word memoir say?


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