My Life in 6 Words


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Can you write a story in 6 words? Ernest Hemingway once did: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” And back in 2006 Smith Magazine editor Larry Smith started a “Six-Word Memoir” contest that is still ongoing. The challenge? Describe your life in six words. Can you do it?

So far I’ve written 10 books of my own and stories for 25 other published books. Many of them include personal life stories — and I assure you that many more than six words were involved! How in the world can I reduce my unique story to a mere six?

In my book Role of a Lifetime I talk about the importance of ‘story’ and living our unique one to the fullest. But, more than that, I propose that each of us is part of God’s Story that will make a difference in the Kingdom. “At any age, if we are to face life with integrity and purpose, we must know that our lives do mean something, that we matter to someone, and that whatever story we have lived, it has brought us to this point…Remembering our story helps us journey into wholeness. In the process of remembering and sharing our stories, we restore those parts of ourselves we have forgotten, suppressed or denied…As we touch the stories of Christ and connect them with our stories, we find wholeness.” (page 39)

So I guess many people have taken this challenge to write their life story in 6 words. As I researched, I found a few favorites:

Some have a bright outlook:

“I have time to fix this.” (Taneika, 26)

“Every 20 years I reinvent myself.” (Wahana, 83)

“Still fit into high school earrings.” (Kimberly, 53)

“I dance daily, watched or not.” (Olivia, 32)

“Mindy Kaling wore sequins to everything.” (Mindy, 32)

 “Shirt: Souvenir. Shoes: Walmart. Soul: Prada.” >>>>

Some are sad:

“He died before I could apologize.”

“Beneath the smile, I am crying.”

“Sorry I’m not married yet, Mom.” (Julie, 42)

“Tend to jump on sinking ships.”

“It feels like God unfriended me.”

Some are reflective:

“Was hot. Raised kids. Lost cool.” (Trudy, 60)

“Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin.” (Julia, 53)

“Like old china; chipped but cherished.”

“Write, mother, sleep. Repeat as needed.” (Shonda, 42)

“Used it up. Wore it out.” (Sharon, 59)

Others are clearly moving forward:

“I live my best life now.” (Terrie, 56)

“I refused to be a victim.” (Elaine, 66)

“Stage IV cancer made me live.” (Melanie, 34)

“Have some chapters in me yet.”

“Survived the divorce. Learned to live.” (Laurel, 54)

While trying to come up with my own 6 words I asked myself several questions:

What was a particular struggle or challenge in my life?

What helped cause the most positive change in me?

Where do I hope the rest of my life will be focused?

Of course I had hundreds of answers to all these questions. Literally. But, for the sake of the exercise I boiled it down to the basics. One of my particular struggles in life was always striving to be more, do more, achieve more….so that God would love me more. Bad theology and even worse lifestyle. So, what changed me the most was learning about God’s amazing grace – the life-giving gift we don’t deserve. That He already loves and accepts me based on who He is, not what I do. That then led me to the way I seek to live out the rest of my life – in daily gratitude for all God’s many blessings. So, friend, that was the process for me. The end product — my 6 words — are not profound or especially eloquent. But they are ME:

“Tried hard. Embraced grace. Forever thankful.”        (Lucinda, 59)

Your turn! Write your own life story in 6 words and send it to me and perhaps I will post some of your stories in a future blog. (feel free to comment also on how you decided what to write)

under the mercy, Cindy

©2012 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

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4 Responses to My Life in 6 Words

  1. maggierowe says:

    One of the best book titles ever sums up my life in 5 words: “She did what she could!”

  2. Yvonne says:

    I’m going to have to think about this one! I’ll let you know if I can do it.

  3. Florence Grant says:

    What would I do without God?

  4. Jennifer says:

    Here’s a link to a blog post I made in response to this one:

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