Tell Your Story with 52 Questions in 52 Weeks

Stories matter – especially yours! From your story, your descendants will learn something valuable from the things you experienced and will get to know you as an individual. Your legacy is worth preserving!

Starting your story may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. Simply break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces and take it slowly. Each week for one year, take one of the 52-question prompts below, in any order you choose, and write as much or as little as you’d like. It doesn’t matter if you write a few paragraphs, a single page, or several pages. The important thing is that you write something.

Remember, done is better than perfect because perfect never gets done.

At the end of one year, you will have created your own life story to share with your children and future generations. You will never be forgotten because your story will exist. Add some photos, add timeless embellishments to enhance your story, and make it even more inviting to read.

Once you have been through the process, try starting the 52 questions with a loved one. Helping them remember and celebrate their lives is a meaningful experience. Together, you’ll relive adventures and reminisce on memorable moments. Nothing could be sweeter!
Stories matter – especially yours! From your story, your descendants will learn something valuable from the things you experienced and will get to know you as an individual. Your legacy is worth preserving! Tell your story with 52 questions in 52 weeks.
  1. What is your full name? Do you know why your parents gave you this name? Do you use your chosen name? If not, what is your nickname or preferred name?
  2. When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town where you grew up.
  3. Who was your father and what was he like? Share some of the memories you have of your dad including his full name, birthdate, birthplace, parents, and siblings.
  4. Who was your mother and what was she like? Share some of the memories you have of your mom including her full name, birthdate, birthplace, parents, and siblings.
  5. What kind of work or jobs did your parents do? (farmer, salesman, manager, seamstress, nurse, stay-at-home mom, professional, laborer, other?) What types of things did they enjoy doing? Did they have any hobbies?
  6. Who are your brothers and sisters? Describe things that stand out in your mind about each of your siblings including their names, birthdates, birthplaces, and characteristics.
  7. What are your childhood memories? What were the best and worst parts? Were there any hardships or tragedies you or your family experienced while growing up or when you left home? Did these events change you and how?
  8. Have any of your immediate family members passed away? If so, do you know what from? Do you remember much about their passing? What was your last or lasting memory of them? What words would you use to describe his or her character? Do you have any funny stories about the times you spent together? Do you remember stories they told you about their childhood, past relatives, or about you? Did they have a favorite saying, song, or Bible verse?
  9. Are there any unusual genetic traits or medical conditions that run in your family that your descendants should know about?
  10. How did you fill your summer or winter vacation? Did you have any traditions? Vacations? Family reunions? Camping or the beach?
  11. Did you have any pets? What was your favorite pet? Who took care of your pets? Did it do any special tricks? How did you choose the name of your pets? What interesting objects did they bring home? Did you have any unusual or exotic animals?
  12. Who were your best friends growing up? Where did you meet them? What did you have in common? Are you still in touch? Did you meet in school or around the neighborhood? Did they have siblings that you played with, too? Were they a good or bad influence? Where did you hang out and what activities did you do together?
  13. What are some of the family traditions that you remember? Did you have any special ways of celebrating a specific holiday? Do you continue any of these with your own family? Think about special meals, church events, holiday decorating, birthday cakes, themed parties, or gifts. Were any cultural or religious activities celebrated?
  14. What are a few of your memories of your grandparents? How often did you see them? What do you remember about them? Did you visit often or have holidays with them? Did you live close by? What was their house like? Did it have a particular scent? What characteristics did they have? Can you remember any of the stories they told you?
  15. Who are your aunts and uncles? Do any of them stand out to you and why? Were you closer to anyone in particular? Did they have children, your cousins, that you were close to? Was there an aunt or uncle that you would have liked to have known better? Were there any regular family gatherings where you saw them?
  16. What are some of your hobbies, talents, or gifts? How did you discover them? Was there a significant person in your younger years that helped you discover your talent? Did other members have similar talents or hobbies? To what lengths did your parents go to support you in these hobbies or talents? Do you still use these talents or hobbies today? Did you win any awards? Did you inspire anyone else?
  17. Did you belong to any special clubs such as Brownies, Girl Scouts, 4H, or a youth group? What did you enjoy most about being a member of that club? Did you go on vacations or camps with that club? Did you receive any special awards or recognitions?
  18. What sort of chores did your parents expect you to do around the house or property? Did you try to get out of certain chores and how? Any animal-related chores? Did you earn pocket money? Which chores were unpleasant? Did the chores change as you grew older? Did you have any disagreements with your siblings over who was going to do the chores?
  19. What was your favorite childhood book? Who recommended the book? Who read it to you? Did you get books as gifts? Did you belong to the library? Did you enjoy reading? Was it something your parents did as well? Did you have a favorite author or series that you loved? Do you have the same reading habits today as you had as a child?
  20. What is your earliest memory? How old do you think you were? Is it something you actually remember, or it is something that was talked about, or you had a photo that triggered that memory? Is it a pleasant or unpleasant memory? Who else was involved in that memory such as parents, siblings, or friends? Does the memory involve a possession you still have or is it now lost? Has that memory shaped who you are today? Does that memory come to mind often?
  21. Have you ever been lost? Write about a time you were lost. Were you geographically lost or lost in the direction of your life? Where were you lost and why? Does that memory still haunt you today? Were you alone or with someone? How scared were you? Were there any events that caused you to lose your direction in life? Was there a significant person who helped you at that turning point?
  22. What did you want to be when you grow up? Did you follow that dream? As you got older, how did that change? What was your earliest memory of a dream occupation and did that dream change as you got older? Did any of those dreams become a reality? Was there anyone who was influential in those dream occupations such as a teacher, coach, family friend, or boss?
  23. Where did you go to elementary, middle, and high school? What was school like for you? Does one particular year stand out and why? Was there a special teacher who made an impact on your life? What subject(s) did you like? How did you get to and from school? What good or bad memories do you have? Did your parents take an interest in your schooling? Did you have the same friends throughout your school years?
  24. Have you ever been to the hospital? What was the reason and how old were you? Was it an emergency or planned? Did you ride an ambulance? Did you have anesthesia? Who was with you when you woke up? Did you like the hospital food? Was there a particular nurse or roommate you met or made friends with? Did you manage to sleep at night or were you anxious to get home?
  25. Were you involved with any sport? Was it an individual sport or a team sport? Was it made mandatory to play a sport at your school or by your parents? Did you enjoy gym class? Did your parents come to watch you play? Did your parents coach your team? Did you ever get any awards for your sporting achievements? Did you have any injuries from sports activities? Do you still participate in any physical activities today?
  26. What games did you play as a child? Did you play them frequently and with whom did you play? Did you play in the street, backyard, or inside the house? Were any games a fad at the time? Was it a game played with the family, friends, or neighbors? Does the family still play these games today?
  27. How old were you when you first learned to drive? Who taught you and what kind of vehicle did you learn in? Where did you go for your driving lessons? Was it family or trained instructors who took you for lessons? Did you have any “near-misses” while learning to drive? Were you allowed to drive your parents’ cars after you got your license? What make and model was your first car? Have you ever had a speeding ticket or been involved in an accident?
  28. What was the first time you recall speaking or performing in public? What was it about? Did you ever do a speech at school? Were you in a dance or performance where you had to perform, sing, or dance in front of an audience? Did you make up performances that the family had to endure? Or do you prefer to avoid public speaking?
  29. In school, who were some of your friends? Did you have one special friend or lots of friends that you would play with? Was there one person you remained friends with after your schooling was complete? Did you spend time with your friend’s family? Have you been to a school reunion and caught up with any long, lost friends on social media?
  30. Did you ever get into trouble at school? What did you do and how were you reprimanded? Did you feel the punishment was warranted? Did you ever have to stay after school for detention? Did you always tell your parents about the trouble you got into at school? Did you get more punishment when you got home from your parents?
  31. What was the first concert you ever went to? Were your parents interested in shows, concerts, or theater? Do you remember ever getting dressed up to go to a performance? How old were you when you went to your first concert with friends? Were you in any concerts or musical shows as a child? Whom were some of your performance idols growing up, and where are they today?
  32. When and why did you live away from your parents for the first time? Did you leave home for school or after getting married? How far away did you move? What were the good and bad things about moving away from your parents? What did you miss the most – someone to do the cooking and laundry or someone to hang out with? Did you ever return home and why? Did you move away at the right age, or should you have moved sooner or later than you did? How did your parents cope with you leaving home?
  33. How did you earn pocket money as a child? Did your parents believe in giving you an allowance and did you have to do chores to earn it? What did you spend your pocket money on? Were you a saver or a spender? What other avenues did you have to earn money? Did these opportunities lead to part-time jobs or your future career? Did you ever have to help support your family financially? Do you think any of these early life work experiences shaped the way you are now or the career you chose?
  34. Do you remember all your vocations and what was significant about them? Did you enjoy all the jobs you had or were there some you enjoyed more than others? Were there any memorable challenges in your vocations? Did you achieve any commendations through your vocations?
  35. What is one accomplishment that you are proud of in your life? How old were you when you achieved it? Was there any recognition or reward? Did you celebrate in any special way? Were your friends and family noticeably proud of your achievements? Did this achievement have any influence over your future?
  36. Do you have any religious, spiritual, or special mentor experiences in your childhood or youth? What are your earliest memories of Sunday School? Did you attend church as a family? Were you involved in youth groups? Were there any particular people you looked at for guidance? Did your experiences shape the way you are today?
  37. What are some of the first things that you remember being introduced into the home that you considered “high tech?” What sorts of things do you consider “high tech” in your lifetime? How old were you and what are your memories of when your family bought something high-tech for the first time? What do you think have been the most significant inventions or technological advancements in your lifetime? Which of these has affected your life the most and why? Do you embrace or avoid high-tech now?
  38. What has your food journey been over the years? Has food been an important part of your family life? How did your family influence your eating habits? Were there family recipes that are especially memorable? Have any of these recipes been handed down from generation to generation? What were your food likes and dislikes growing up? Have they changed over the years? Did your family grow any of the family food?
  39. Tell us about your first real vacation experience after starting work. Who did you go on holiday with? Where did you go and why? Were the costs of the holiday solely your responsibility or did you split the costs with someone? What are the most memorable experiences? Did you buy any special souvenirs?
  40. When, and how many times, did you fall in love? What attracted you to your first love? How old were you when you met? Did your first love include your first kiss? Did your first love become a lasting relationship? Did it include an engagement, marriage, or children? What do you remember most about being in love? If one of your loves is no longer your partner, are they still a part of your life?
  41. At what age did you meet your current partner or spouse? What were the circumstances under which you met? Was it love at first sight or did love grow over time? Did your relationship progress quickly or slowly? What qualities attracted you to your partner? How long have you been together? What do you love most about them?
  42. What was the happiest time of your life? Does one event stand out more than others? Or do you have several? Was it related to a time of life, the birth of a child, your work or play, a vacation, a new pet, a home, or a car?
  43. How has your life been as a parent? How old were you when you first became a parent? How many kids and what was the age gap? Did you always have the presence and support of a partner while parenting? What ages were your kids when you enjoyed parenting most? Was parenting your main focus or were there other commitments you had at the same time? What did you find most challenging about being a parent? What memories of your children transitioning to the different levels of school and into adulthood stand out in your mind? How close is the relationship you have with your children now? What memories of parenting still bring a smile to your face?
  44. What one person stands out most as your greatest influence? Was it a parent, teacher, friend, mentor, or coach? How did they influence you? What were some of the qualities that stood out in that person? Does any of that influence still stand out in the person you are today?
  45. What interesting things you’ve experienced in your lifetime? Think of how times have changed in your lifetime. What technological changes have amazed you? How have ways of doing things changed? What changes in relationships have you noticed? Have you embraced changes in your lifestyle, or do you prefer the old ways?
  46. What are some personal values that are important to you? Do some values stand out above all others? Can you recall values growing up? Do you still hold those values today? Who influenced your personal values in your lifetime? Who have you influenced through your personal values? What personal values do you admire in others?
  47. What are some of the popular fads or fashions you have experienced during your life? What was “cool” when you were growing up? Were you a fad or fashion follower? What fads make you smile when you think of them? What fads or fashions did you choose not to follow? Which ones impacted your life as a parent? Has anyone influenced your fashion style? What fads or fashion trends are part of your life now?
  48. What were the most memorable world, local, or historical events that you recall during your childhood, youth, or adult years? What is the earliest historical event that you recall? What were you doing and how did you hear about it? What other historical events can you remember throughout your lifetime? Is it the tragic events that stand out more or the events worthy of celebration? Did any of these events have a direct impact on you or your family?
  49. What is the most hilarious or scary thing that has ever happened to you? What story do you tell over and over again? Why is this a favorite story? How do your friends and family react when you tell the story? Was it funnier or scarier now in retrospect?
  50. What are your plans and dreams for retirement? At what age do you want to retire or are you retired now? What do you look forward to most? Do you have any trips planned? Will you downsize? Would you consider moving into a retirement home or in with your grown children? Do you have the plan to outlive your money or have your money outlive you? Are you doing your best to spend your children’s inheritance?
  51. What interesting neighbors did you have growing up? Did you have a good or bad relationship with your neighbors? What funny things do you recall? Do you keep in touch with them?
  52. Thinking back on life, what would you like people to remember about you? Are there any aspects of your personality, characteristics, or mannerisms that you hope people will remember? Any special skills or abilities? Any achievements you hope people will continue to talk about? Any funny things about you that your family shares? Any great traditions you do that you hope are continued by your future generations?

 Additional Questions

  1. What are your favorite things? Tell us about your favorite books, songs, foods, beverages, restaurants, or products.
  2. What do you remember about your time in college? Did you live in a dorm or an apartment off campus, or did you live at home? What were your favorite classes? Did you have a professor that took a special interest in you? What was the craziest or most interesting class you ever took?
  3. Did you ever get married and how many times? Tell us about your special day and the moments leading up to the event. Did the wedding go smoothly or were there some mishaps?
  4. Do you have any scars and what were they from? Do you have any tattoos and what is the meaning behind them?
  5. Have you ever been the victim of a crime? Tell as much of the story as you are comfortable with. How has it shaped who you are today?
  6. Do you have any cousins? Were you close growing up and are you still friends today? Are there any special memories you share with your cousins?
  7. Have you ever been out of your country, and if so, where did you go? Did you go as a work requirement or as a vacation? Did you go by yourself, with friends, or with family? What was your favorite location and why? Share any special memories you have from any out-of-the-country trips you took over the years.
  8. Has your hairstyle changed over the years? Has it always been one color, or have you tried various colors? At what age did you start to turn gray or first dye your hair? At what age did you decide to go natural gray or white? Show how your hairstyles have changed with the times.
  9. Have you ever had DNA testing done? What did you find out about your ancestry? Is it what you expected, or did you find out something that you never knew? What is your country, or countries, of origin?
  10. Are you interested in genealogy? How far back can you go with your family tree? If not you, who in your family is the keeper of the family ancestry?
  11. What are some things you’ve done that you would never do again and why?
  12. What is something you’ve done that you would love to do again and why? Are there things you still need to accomplish on your “bucket list?” If so, when do you plan to do them?
  13. What advice would you give your younger self?