Dad Libs

Editor’s Note: To make creative writing a little easier for my dad (though no less expressive), I wrote the opening phrases of this piece (As a boy, etc.) and he filled in the blanks. You could call it a thought experiment in succinctly describing the experience of a life in 100 words or less– a “micro-autobiography”. The name “Dad Libs” is a play on the popular word game Mad Libs, where players fill in empty spaces in a template story with their own words. You can find the template below- try it yourself if you’d like. Here is what we came up with.



As a (boy/girl), I was…

As a teenager, I was…

In my twenties, I was…

In my thirties, I was…

(And so on, however long your story may be.)

Dad Libs
Michael Gollin
August 2017

As a boy, I was silly and adventurous.

As a teenager, I was dissolute, thrill-seeking, and intellectual with low emotional intelligence.

In my twenties, I was diligent, motivated by science and law.

In my thirties, I was building emotional awareness, a family, and a career.

In my forties, I was expanding expertise and keeping up with a growing family.

My fifties were five years of fitness and spiritual awakening, then five years of illness and confronting mortality.

My sixties is the peaceful decade.

2 thoughts on “Dad Libs

  1. Thank you, Max, for bringing DadLibs to the world! And thank you, Michael. I probably still have some old MadLibs we did on long summer evenings in Mashpee. So many memories — and this is a particularly nostalgic time of year.

    So I took the challenge:

    As a girl, I was trusting and a bit of a ham.
    As a teenager, I was creative, insecure, self-centered.
    In my twenties, I was passionate and impractical.
    In my thirties, I started growing up and was filled with wonder: having kids tends to do those things to you.
    In my forties, I lost most of my illusions, and also gave myself permission to do some of the things I had always wanted to do.
    In my fifties, I began to find my voice, then learned the consequences of raising it.
    My sixties, I don’t know yet, but a good friend says she thinks that I’m growing tougher.


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