This article is informed by recent trends in narrative research that focus on the meaning-making actions of those involved in describing the life course. Drawing upon data generated during a series of interactive interviews with a 70-year-old physically active man named Fred, his story is presented to illustrate a strategic model of narrative activity. In particular, using the concepts of ‘big stories’ and ‘small stories’ as an analytical framework, we trace Fred’s use of two specific identities; being fit and healthy, and being leisurely to analyse the ways that he accomplishes an ontological narrative where the plot line reads; ‘Life is what you make it’. The ways in which this narrative enables Fred to perform a narrative of positive self-ageing in his everyday life is illustrated. Finally, the analytical possibilities of being attentive to both big and small stories in narrative analysis are discussed.
- ageing; big stories; identity construction; small stories; narrative