Your Life in 30 Things

What do your Things say about you? If you could only pick 30 Things that would tell your life story what Things would you choose?

A resource by Show & Tales

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Are you the family historian? Do you find people fascinating? Are you the one who is always curious about the THINGS around your family or friend’s houses? Or maybe you trying to help someone downsize or declutter?

Does your eye always go to the bookcase or shelves behind the people’s heads in a Zoom meeting? It’s a little like you’re getting a peek into their inner lives

Are you a volunteer with an organization you’re passionate about and want to help them build deeper connections with the community?

Let me introduce you to my Your Life in 30 Things Challenge, inspired by those 30-Day Challenges we see on social media, the 150+ Show & Tales story-sharing gatherings I’ve hosted and my friend’s book “What We Keep.” In this book, co-author Bill Shapiro found “Of the more than 300 people we spoke with, not one chose an object because of its dollar value. Our hearts are not accountants; we cling to the meaningful, not the monetary.”

Your Life in 30 Things Challenge is a relatively simple activity - look around your space, pick 30 Things that would tell your life story and list them on the pages. This process is designed to engage with all of your environment while narrowing down the list of items that truly best define your life. I did this challenge in 30 Days but I recommend taking your time and really thinking about the items you add to the list.

As you go through the process, remember to not just focus on the easy items like family heirlooms or valuables. You can use the illustrations scattered around the borders of the playsheets to inspire you to think more broadly. What photo or object comes to mind when you think about the theme Cards, Letters & Thank You Notes? How about Tails, Paws, Beaks & Claws?

Use these playsheets to think about your own life, perhaps make it a family activity. Or use it at a holiday gathering with friends. Offer it as an activity at your church, synagogue or social club. You would be surprised by how much you can learn about your family, friends and colleagues simply by hearing the stories of the THINGS they keep.

Over the past decade, I’ve been honored and fascinated by the personal stories of photos & objects shared by people just like you at my in-person and online story-sharing gatherings. Since founding Show & Tale ten-years ago, I have witnessed the power of this type of unique event to create community and connect audiences for organizations, artists, personal historians, businesses and non-profit groups.

Interested in a custom story-sharing gathering for your group or family? Schedule a time to talk HERE and also check out the live events that we have coming up HERE to experience these connective events for yourself. If you need more resources, connections & courage for your business, organization, or group, my community may be the perfect fit for you. Visit for more information.

If you have any questions or want more information, please contact me directly at

And if you feel inspired to connect more, I’d LOVE to hear from you and see the 30 Things that would tell YOUR life story. If you’re “social” go ahead and tag me @showandtales and add #YourLifein30Things.

Enjoy this time considering your life and helping others do the same,

Martie McNabb

Founder, Thingtide Show & Tale® LLC

Personal Historian, Legacy Artist & Story-share Heartist

My Inspiration

For over 2 decades I've been passionate about helping people share the stories of their lives. Perhaps I was inspired to do so because I come from a family of non-storytellers. I believe the experience of sharing our stories outloud is a healing journey that helps us connect more deeply with our own and our intergenerational & interconnected human journey of life. It's beautiful & ugly & everything in between.

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