Several times recently, a term has surfaced and resonated with me: “life review.”
You might have heard “life review” associated with end-of-life tasks or near-death experiences. That’s its most common association — or, rather, it was its most common association.
I’d like to bring the term into the living light. To me, engaging in life review is all about living. Specifically, life review is a powerful means to discovering the best version of yourself in your Third Act.
In her 2011 TEDxWomen appearance titled “Life’s Third Act,” and also in her book Prime Time, Jane Fonda recommends we all do a life review. CBS Magazine’s resident astrologer, the author Virginia Bell, agrees: She recommended life review during a recent talk about generational changes.
What is life review?
It’s reflecting on your life with intention. Jane Fonda calls it “active remembering.”
If that sounds an awful lot like life story writing — the passion I’m forever talking about — it’s because life story writing is essentially life review in written form. In life review and in life story writing, we connect with the emotions our memories evoke and then explore them deeper to better understand ourselves.
As Fonda writes in her book, “Memories reside not only in our linear minds but also in our bodies, our cells, our tissues, and our senses.”
Now, you may be asking, “Why would I want to reconnect with my emotions about past experiences?”
Because to know where you want to go, you have to first understand where you’ve been.
What are the benefits of life review?
I know from experience (my own and my clients’) that when you reflect upon and write about your life, your mind begins to make sense of what you have lived through – the good and the complicated times, the challenging and the triumphant moments, the joys and the sorrows.
Personally, life review through life story writing has changed the way I see myself. Acknowledging all I’ve lived through has helped me gain greater self-respect. I’ve found my voice and finally feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time.
Life review through life story writing drove away my fear of aging and helped me embrace my Third Act.
This brings me to perhaps the most important point about life review in the Third Act:
To get the most out of life review, you must do it while your brain is still active!
In fact, the very act of life review — and certainly if you’re writing your stories down — can help keep the brain active. I believe a written life review is just as effective an age-fighting activity as more common prescriptions, like eating well, exercising, getting good sleep, and meditating.
That’s why we all need to do a life review while we can still experience its greatest benefits.
You can get started with our Write Your Authentic Story Starter Kit. Click Here to get your copy.