On genealogy and perspective

17 Aug

I have written 400 entries since 2002 on this blog; and I cannot believe I have never written about genealogy.  Maybe I have; but time has reduced my brain into floss candy — so whatever I can’t remember doesn’t count.

Genealogy is a big part of what makes me tick — the jewel in my geek crown.  I would not mind being locked in a family history library for a week, if it meant breaking down some “stone walls” in my research.  I find satisfaction in helping others find their lineage, and I volunteer to do that at Geni.com.  Friends would be amused that I know so much about my family’s past and of Philippine history; but they could not imagine doing it for themselves — because well … they have lives.

Even my older sister who loves me to shreds would listen to me wax poetic about an ancestor we share, only to say at the end of my monologue, “You know I don’t care about people I don’t know, right?”  She makes a point about not liking some of our LIVING relatives; so there is little use in romanticizing the dead ones.  All good arguments.

But genealogy has given me an arguably philosophical, more pragmatic perspective on life.

When my husband make me fume … at least, I wasn’t married off to a complete stranger in exchange for a couple of cows. My grandmother-in-law was.

When I complain the car is parked too far away … Two words: Death March.  My father-in-law and my mother-in-law’s nephew (the little one in the photo below) endured that.

When I complain about the government … at least, it never threatened to kill my entire family, if I don’t take a job.  The Japanese Imperial Government laid those options out for my great-grandfather (the tall, dapper one).

When the wifi/cable/AC fails … at least, we have electricity. Anyone who lived in the Philippines before 1890 never knew the joy of electronic amusement and comfort.

When I complain about needing to attend conference calls until midnight .. at least I never had to be up at 3am to wade in mud and plant stuff, unlike the many farmers in our lineage.

I could go on and on.  I guess the point is, for those who choose it — life is good.

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