Tuesday, January 02, 2018

New Year 2018, Looking Back and Looking Forward

Every now and then it's a good idea to take a step back and look at where you're at relative to where you've been and where you want to be. The beginning of a new year is a popular time to do that. With that in mind, here's my take on where I'm at regarding my genealogy...

My goal last year was to write up a family history and I chose my Mizera family line to start with. My intentions were good. I thought I had a good plan although I didn't get far before the plan fell apart. I tried to construct a new plan but that didn't work either. Then I got distracted with other things and never got back to trying to write up the family history.

I did add some names to my family history database last year, some from the Mizera line and some from the Lisowski line. I found some new (to me) sources for information about the lives and times of my families in Poland. And I hired some Polish researchers to help me with finding records and translating them. So that's all good. I helped some friends research their families too. I feel good about that. So I did have some accomplishments last year to further my genealogical journey.

So that's where I'm at looking back on my genealogy-related activities in the past year. Very recently, I came to the realization that I'm not really interested/motivated in writing up my family history. That was a bit of an eye opener for me. I enjoyed writing in the past. I have written two NANOWRIMO novellas, and I've written blog posts about my genealogy, digital scrapbooking, and photography for several years. I remember the writing process to be quite enjoyable to me. But somewhere along the way I lost interest in writing. I used to think of creative writing as one of my hobbies. I don't anymore. It may well be that I just have too many "balls in the air" so to speak. When I make choices of what to do with my hobby time, I never choose genealogy-related writing anymore. Notice I said "genealogy-related" writing. I still write every day but it's rarely about genealogy.

The most recent hobby I've picked up was bullet journaling. I've been doing that for about 15 months now. It's not creative writing the way I do it, it's more like a combination to-do list, planner, tracker, and diary. And the diary entries are most often about the activities of the day. I do spend a good bit of time decorating the pages of my journal (yep, this is old school journaling with pen and paper, not digital) and in that way it's been a good creative outlet for me. But, it takes up a good bit of my hobby time. And it's not genealogy related.

And then there's my painting. The amount of time I put into painting hasn't been as much as I would have liked either. Whenever you try to learn something new you need to apply yourself... practice, practice, practice. I need more practice time painting if I'm going to improve. But the more hobby time I spend painting, the less time I have for genealogy research or writing. It's always a trade off.

The one hobby that I have spent what I consider a fair amount of time on this past year is my photography. I've worked at it and I've improved as a result. I'm happy about that! My photography isn't in any way genealogy-related. It does get me up and moving; most often outdoors, in nature. And that's good for my creativity, my mood, my spirit, and my mind. So it's all good.

So that pretty much sums up a review of all my hobbies over the past year. Going forward, I need to find a way to manage my time better, I guess. I want to do it all but then there's the grocery shopping, house cleaning, bill paying, tax return preparation, vacation planning, house projects (for 2 houses) to manage, etc. And that stuff has a way of interfering with my hobby time all too often, LOL!

Looking forward to 2018, I don't have any specific goals for my genealogy hobby time. I want to continue my research... that's the most fun part of genealogy for me. It's like solving puzzles and I love puzzles. Organizing what I've already found is boring. Writing up the family history doesn't sound like fun anymore. Just an obligation. Quite frankly, I'd rather be painting, or photographing extreme weather, wildlife, beautiful landscapes, butterflies and flowers. But I'm not giving up on my genealogy hobby altogether. I can't see myself ever doing that.

I'm entertaining a dream of one day merging all of my hobbies together... that would require a trip to Poland, so I'll have to overcome my resistance to flying. But I'd love to photograph and journal about the beautiful churches where my ancestors were baptized, married, and buried and the prayer/adoration chapels along the roads to the villages where my ancestors toiled in the soil to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. I'd love to see the parks, the country fields of wheat, the train stations, the castles, the museums, the amber beaches, the snow-covered mountain ranges, the folk art and the folk. My folk. My people. And then come home and paint it all! And then I'd like to put together a photo book of the trip as a companion piece to the family history that I will no doubt be motivated to write after experiencing all that inspiring stuff, LOL! That's my dream. Some day, but not likely in 2018.