As I embark on the new, exciting journey of exploring family histories, I’d plan to use this little corner of the Internet to collect my thoughts. I currently have a plan to post twice each week: one story of a family member (as I’ve been doing), and one reflection of takeaways for the week on the field of genealogy as I strive to learn and improve.
This week I’ve been continuing to voraciously consume genealogy-themed books, podcasts, and TV shows. I feel like I have dived into a new ocean and want to consume all of it, but know I need to pace myself, enjoy the new waters, and trust that I will get stronger with time.
One thought that keeps returning to me is that despite being a disciplined, responsible, and relatively organized person, my life path has oftentimes been unconventional. I spent earlier years moving to new countries and making new friends, finding new jobs. I was extremely independent and trusted that the universe was a place of open-ended adventures. I still tend to trust my inner voice when making big life-changing decisions.
The heart-pull I felt toward travel was always strong and clear. It’s been many years since I’ve had such a clear intuition of anything. I felt clear intuitions around particular decisions having to do with my children. But I haven’t felt any clear, strong insight about career for a very long time. I’ve had ideas that inspire and excite, of course. Teaching made a good deal of sense. Some business plans have popped into my imagination. But I haven’t felt booming certainty for a very long time. But now, with the discovery of the investigative and spiritual work that comes with genealogy, I feel a similar kind of heart-pull that I did in my youth about travel. I can’t help but notice that it’s indeed a new kind of travel – one without the barriers of time or space.
And so here I begin a new kind of journey in earnest. I’m not sure where it’s leading. Right now I’m a high school Humanities teacher. I teach World History, Hawaiian History, and a handful of other subjects in a small high school in Hawaii. And I love my job. There’s a cautious part of me that says I should wait to express my thoughts on this burgeoning passion until I’ve got more street-cred. But, for me, part of the pull IS about creating. Sharing is about connection, and so I’m compelled to share. There is a very clear voice in my head that tells me that although right now I am green, and am in a place of openness and vulnerability, there is space for me here, and that I have great potential to grow and contribute. So I trust a new kind of process.
I have a very long to-do list. It’s all good. I freaking love lists.
One thought on “Family History as Time Travel”
You nailed it! I included these same sentiments in the book I wrote about my mom’s life and times. Learning about her childhood, college years, and young married life was a kind of time travel. And I think it helps others to understand the pull of genealogy to see the excitement and enlightenment you are experiencing in such a joyful way. I’m someone who thinks of genealogy as much more than begats and tree diagrams. I want to (have to) do a deep dive into an individual’s life, and if I can’t do it directly, I sure can through history books, learning about lives of others from the time period, old newspaper clippings (I love newspapers.com), and online pieces. What’s hard is coming up for air.