WARNING: No matter who you are, or what your intentions were when you sat down to write, you will not be the same at the end of your memoir. You will be changed by the writing of your own story. And your story, in turn, will be changed as well.
Writing so deeply and personally about who you have been and what has happened to you changes your perspective on so many things. Perhaps the most impactful of these changes is how you view yourself after the awkward and enlightening experience of crafting the character of yourself in an honest way. This forces us to be (hopefully) more honest than we’re used to being with ourselves.
I used to work in government. For reals. When you work in a bureaucracy (God help you), you frequently hear about the concept of the “Peter Principle.” I’d hate to be the poor guy after which it was named, but the basic idea is that if you work somewhere that rewards good work with promotions, eventually you’ll be promoted beyond your own abilities. You sure won’t get promoted again, but you’ll definitely stay right there, doing a poor job until you sheepishly retreat into retirement.
My husband and I decided to try something a little crazy recently, so we went on a vacation. A real vacation, that is, not a trip to see family or a work-related jaunt. OK, it was a little work related, but when Mike scheduled a gig in New York City on a Saturday in April, we decided it was our opportunity to do something genuinely vacation-y and stay through the following Tuesday.