The Question: Explain What You Did
This time of year I’m always brought back to my school days. It doesn’t help that lately my life-long friends have been going through significant changes in their lives. I’ve been reliving the good and the bad, and the days of fall essays with titles like, “Explain what you did over our school break.” What did I do? I found myself focusing on family. However, in the process I found myself placing less focus on genealogy – or, at least publicly. Then it hit me. Maybe not!
Genealogy is the study of family. Actually, my personal favorite full definition from dictionary.com is:
“Genealogy: the study of family ancestries and histories.”
However, I tend to shorten it when asked what I do. I study family (not always my own!) When we dive into family history, we place a lot of focus on our ancestors and the past. Sometimes the present gets jealous and snaps us out of it. Sometimes that present does it quickly and forcefully.
This summer we faced a few health issues around our house. One was a planned surgery for my mother, which I knew would make the summer interesting for both of us. We also faced – on the same day mind you – a surprise challenge with the keeper of my heart, my husband. These two things required that I do something active around here. I had to focus on home and the family of the present.
As a bonus surprise, we found that all the time spent at home allowed us to reconnect with extended family. Because life was lived in a different routine we were able to stick close by to do things like hunt critters with our grandson as we geocached and have conversations with friends and family far away. It forced me to focus on the relationships around me.
In the midst of change sometimes comes enlightenment. I’m finally able to see and admit that I was burned out on our community and on the greater online world in general. I was burned out on seeing blogs and sites have to fight to maintain copyright over their own words and photos. I was burned out on people and organizations focusing on the business of genealogy rather than the story of family. I thought I needed to take a longer leave but what I really needed was simply a vacation. Not only did I need a summer vacation but I needed a blogging vacation. And, that’s what I got. Though it wasn’t necessarily by choice, circumstance gave me a summer vacation that caused me to rest and recover both physically, emotionally, and creatively. Luckily for me, I also gained personal focus in the process.
What did I learn?
I’m experiencing a renewed excitement about beginning new projects on a local and state level rather than the national focus I had with past projects. I was able to spend time at the end of May with a wonderful group of people at the Ohio Genealogical Society that renewed my enjoyment of having face-to-face conversations with groups (aka presenting on topics that I love and participating in group projects.) Believe me, old projects haven’t been abandoned. (I’ll have new Legacy QuickGuides coming to you soon!) However, I got to really consider what I wanted to do. As adults, how often do we have that opportunity? This change of pace and change of direction allowed me to ask the hard questions and listen for the quiet answers. It actually allowed me to focus on what makes me passionate about genealogy.
I discovered that my heart connection between homeschooling and family history really are integrated far beyond what I imagined. This extends to engaging our children in learning no matter how they are educated, so don’t think I’m letting those in public or private school off the hook just yet! What’s this mean to you? Not only am I more excited than ever to start blogging more regularly, but it means that there will be an increased focus on how the two join and meet around these parts. You might even see a little more reference to general homeschooling topics that affect our family. Products and services will be tweaked. And, I get to live through the passion that God has placed on my heart. I’m excited, and I hope you will be, too!
For my genealogy friends… don’t worry. I’ll still focusing on Georgia and Ohio in my personal and profession research and writing. I won’t abandon that! In fact, thanks to a brand new interest in family history with one of my adult daughters I’ll be adding Minnesota and Russia to the mix as we focus on my husband’s side. It will be interesting as we head into uncharted waters to experience new (to me) research areas. In other words: look out Jewish Genealogy world… I need to learn from you!
And, there you have it. That’s how I spent my summer vacation.
How did you spend yours?
© 2013, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman. All rights reserved.