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Activity

LIFE LAYERS

Life Layers allows you to map life events over time

This life review tool for adults is evocative and a very visual way
to map memories. An adult can complete the Life Layers sheet on their own, or another adult or a teenager can do an interview to complete the sheet. Helping to map an adult's life is a great way to spark conversation with a young person and helps teens understand how lives evolve and change over time.

The Life Layers sheet can also be completed for a teenager with the help of an adult. You can put in what's happened in the teen's life so far and what they think may happen in the future. This helps teenagers start to plan their own life.

The lines on the Life Layers sheet represent a person's life, with the different decades marked off. The arrows indicate the flow of a person's life through the layers. The sheet helps a person map the changes that have taken place over their lifetime and see how the layers of their life experiences have brought them to where they are today.

In general, you can use words, symbols, and drawings to sketch your journey through the life layers. Be as creative as you like. Make a bigger copy of the sheet if you need more room to fit things in. Here are the basic steps:

  • Write in your name and birth date.
  • Different information goes above the lines and below the lines...
  • Above the lines, write in the names of your children and grandchildren at the time in your life when they were born. You can also include other family members like siblings. If you wish, you can note the dates.
  • Still working above the lines, in another color of pen, note other significant life events, milestones, and transitions (e.g. when you went to college, graduated college, got married, got first job, retired, etc. as well as historical events, like war, which had an impact on your life).
  • Below the lines, in yet another color of pen, identify opportunities that made a difference in your life (e.g. promotion, new job), obstacles that you had to deal with (e.g. illness, losing a job), and "unexpected delights" (things you didn't plan or expect, but that just happened).
  • What do you see? What have been the critical times of your life? Are certain times more "crowded" or "full" than others? How have your life experiences layered on each other to bring you to where you are today?
  • Now, look at the time left on the map of your life. What else would you like to do? What dreams and goals do you have? Write in your ideas in another color of pen.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

Materials
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Life Layers Sheet

Life Layers Sheet
  (PDF requires
  Adobe Acrobat)

Different colored
  fine-tipped pens

Connections
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Families
Schools (social
  studies/history;
  health)
Seniors groups

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