Friday, September 30, 2011

I Can Feel the Seasons Changing...

...and I think my research is falling in step with that sense of change.

It has been a few days since I have written anything; well, actually more than a few days.  I have thought about topics as I have moved through my day, thinking, "that would be cool to write about this or that".  However, come the end of the day, and somehow it doesn't seem as important as it did just a few short hours previously.

When I started this blog, I had a sense that things were shifting.  I wasn't sure how or where or why, and guess what?, I still don't know.  I just can tell it is.  I almost feel like there is a maturity emerging in my genealogical research, much as I am beginning to enter the Autumn season both in 2011 and in my own life...I am just not that Spring chicken any more, as much as my brain thinks I am or wants me to be.

I'm not saying I'm ready for the "home" just yet.  I still have a son in high school, a daughter in her first semester of college, and another son living at home and working...but I seem to be gaining a more mellow approach to life and that is somehow translating into my research.  It seems important to me now to make sure that the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed.  I wasn't reckless in my research, but I also know that I wasn't as thorough as I could have been.

The online group (US-REC Study Group) that I have mentioned here seems to have fallen into my lap at the exact right time.  Yesterday, I was thoroughly frustrated with myself.  I have begun what I thought was a simple task at becoming more organized...I was going to tackle my online bookmarks.  Well, as the saying goes, looks (and ideas) can be deceiving.  I realized the impossibility of tackling this task because of the shear volume of bookmarks that I had "collected" in my zeal to do research.  The good news, if there is any, is that at least there had been a vain attempt to organize these into some type of order...that was until I reached the folder entitled, "Tuesday".

What Tuesday, you may ask?  Boy, if you know, I sure would love you to tell me, because I have no clue.  For all I know, it could have been last week, month, year...and if that wasn't bad enough, I had seven more folders named Tuesday 2 - Tuesday 8...yes, eight folders with at least a half a dozen bookmarks each (some closer to a dozen) all named Tuesday...guess I was really busy that day!  In that moment of discovery, I almost came unglued.

So, what's a woman to do?  Well, a woman who is finally beginning to grasp the idea that I cannot go it alone in the genealogy world any more than I can go it alone in everyday life went to her group on FB and simply said, "Help!"...and the mere act of acknowledging out loud that what I thought was going to be any easy task as homework assignment #1 was going to take a lot longer than I realized.

What did I discover?  What I have found to be true in other areas of my life...I am not alone.  My groupmates have struggled/are struggling with the same organizational demons to one extent or the other.  They gave me some practical suggestions, they offered me encouragement, they let me know that I wasn't an awful person that needs to be thrown out of the genealogical community on my ear (yes, my brain goes that far)...and what came from all of that was a feeling that I am moving into a deeper level, a more mature level, in my research.

What did I do today?  Did I frantically attack those bookmarks because they have to be done now?  Heck, they really needed to be done on whatever Tuesday it was when I first bookmarked them.  No, I looked with anticipation to the changing season, the exit out of the summer heat and entering into the cooler mornings and nights...and I made cinnamon-apple butter and ginger-pear butter and let the smells of Autumn fill my kitchen.

The bookmarks aren't going anywhere.

I know that I will go back to looking for my relatives...if not mine, my husband's...the thrill of the hunt is too strong to stay away too long.  However, it is my hope that I will approach it more from the place of wisdom of the elder stag than from the frenzy of the young buck.  The seasons, after all, are changing.

©2011, copyright Penny Sexton Brennan

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