By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown February
How many people have I met over my 78 years on the planet? There is no way of knowing the real number. There is also no way of knowing all that I have learned from them, both good and bad. What I am certain of is that the lessons taught and learned lie stored away in the grey matter of the brain and may never see the light of day ever again. Then there are those special times when faced with a problem or situation a sudden spark of memory bursts forth and initially you know not from where the thought came. Then you realize it was from someone you met or something you read or something you heard and there it was, right where it should be – front and center ready for you to use.
How do you thank the hundreds or even thousands of people you have met during your life or the untold number of authors of books and articles that you have read? One-by-one, it is impossible. Still, you can thank them by taking the information they have given to you and pass it on either through your actions, your conversations and/or your writings. You do write things down, right? Therein lies the one lesson I want to pass on to everyone I know, write your thoughts down on paper. It has never been easier to do than right now! You can write them down on paper or you can do as I am doing at this moment by writing this on my desktop computer. You can write them on your notebook computer, your ipad type device or even your smart phone. There is no excuse not to write down what you are thinking, what you have just done, who you have just met or even better a life-lesson you have just learned. Why write this information down? So glad you asked!
The primary reason is that you will eventually begin to forget even the most important information you have learned; forgetting comes with age. I know this because….. THEREFORE, WRITE IT DOWN! NOW! Do you want your children and their children to know who you are and what you stand for or believe in? I have played around on www.ancestry.com and followed my family back to the 1700s and while I know some names I had never heard before, I know nothing about who they are, what they did, what they stood for, or what they believed in; Ancestry.com does not tell you such things unless you are extremely fortunate to have links to files; I found no such links to any of my Ancestry identified relatives.
Several years ago I sat at my desktop and I started a list of words and phrases and typed them out as fast as I could think of them. The list became quite lengthy and consisted of words and phrases from my past 75 or so years. Then one by one I took a single word or phrase and wrote as much as I could remember about the word or phrase. The most amazing thing that happened during this process was that as I wrote, I began to remember even more words and phrases. By the time I was done, I had typed out, single space, 12 pitch font over 150 pages. I titled the work, Things You May Not Know About Your Dad. I printed out copies, bound them and gave them to my four children and nine grandchildren as a Christmas gift. I can’t recommend enough that you do the same thing. I also did something similar about the 20 years I spent in the U. S. Coast Guard. I realized that I had some humorous things happen during those years so I began writing another book, Humor In A Coast Guard Uniform, it too became a word document of over 150 pages. I would happily share this booklet with anyone who wants it. All you have to do is send me an email to JimBrown@gymbeaux.com and put HUMOR in the subject line and the booklet is yours.
There you have my one life-lesson that I happily share with everyone and anyone who will listen – write down your life story while you can still remember it. Give your children and their children and their children a document that introduces all of them to you; it will be digitally available forever! Don’t attempt to do it all in one sitting, do a little every day. Keep a journal and write your thoughts down for each day. Develop those thoughts when you can have the time to give them all the justice they deserve, but write them down; don’t put this off because as I said, time has a way of making even the most important thoughts fade away to oblivion; age has a tendency of doing that all on its own. I know this because….