Saturday, September 26, 2015
Not the Energizer Bunny
Perhaps it seems I've struck a rather frenetic pace lately. I want to do it all: attend those touted genealogical institutes, advocate for our local genealogical society, read a book a day, write a book. Obviously, I can't do it all. But I want to.
It all comes down to a level of energy. I guess I'm not your young and sassy genealogist anymore. But I'm not your grandmother's genealogist, either. I guess that means I've been hung up on a post somewhere as a specimen of what could be dubbed the sandwich generation genealogist.
Or maybe it's a matter of being surrounded by a volley of somber news reports lately. After all, I just got back from the funeral of one of my husband's former co-workers—gone in a flash, right in the middle of a serene fishing trip. Or the report of a sudden heart attack striking an acquaintance during a commute between jobs—a dad of school children, suddenly gone. Even the up-and-coming professionals who haven't quite gotten to the us-four-no-more stage seem to be checking out early, as noted in news of a tragic slaying in our city lately.
Those are the kinds of messages that, translated, tell us to use our time wisely. And provide us a reminder that before we, too, become history, we need to capture our own stories and add that personal history to the collection that future family members will one day look back to, wondering just what kind of person we were in our time. It's those stories—not told in one lump, but unfolding incrementally over a lifetime—that will provide the clearest picture. And, taken bit by bit, that task will not seem as overwhelming as if it were attempted all in one sitting.
I've organized a group of members from our local genealogical society to form a writers' group. Unlike most of that type of group—an assemblage of people with many different writing goals—ours holds a singular purpose: to share our family's stories. The other night at our monthly meeting, two different members brought examples of their story collections. Both were housed in three ring binders of considerable size.
Someone asked: "How long did it take you to do that?"
Each woman had the same approach: work a little at a time, add things here and there, over years. Each bit was not a massive project, but the cumulative result represented many hours' work. The effort, spread out over a long period of time, made the end result possible—something I favor for getting an enormous job done. After all, even people who don't have a lot of energy can get a big project done. Eventually.