Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections 2010

re flec tion (noun)
A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
A thought occurring in consideration or meditation. [1]

Those of you familiar with my blog know that every year, I reference the Roman god Janus in my Reflections and Resolutions posts. For my new readers, here's a little background from my 2008 Resolutions post:

In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. His most apparent remnants in modern culture are his namesakes, the month of January and the caretaker of doors and halls: Janitor.

Janus was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings.

Wikipedia contributors, "Janus (mythology)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 31, 2007).

I suppose if we genea-bloggers lived in Roman times, we would worship Janus. He would make a wonderful god of genealogy! He could see the past and the future, and was celebrated at births, marriages, and other beginnings, events we celebrate as well. Like Janus, we are the keepers of the gates, doors, and hallways into our family histories; those entrusted with the keys. We are janitors--custodians--of the past for the generations that come after.

Here are my reflections as I review the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2010:

The Ugly
While I don't believe it is healthy to focus on the negative, our geneablogging community endured some terrible losses this year, and we would be remiss if we didn't stop to honor those who've gone on. First off, an active and early member of our community passed away in August, Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi. Additionally, number of geneabloggers lost loved ones: parents, children, siblings, and other relatives and beloved friends. Just off the top of my head, I can name four who lost their mothers this year: Elyse, Denise, Gini, and Lori. For those of us who were fortunate to survive 2010 without such a loss, I encourage you to stay close to your loved ones in the coming year and appreciate their presence in your life.

The Bad
There has been a recurring theme, not just in my life, not just in the geneablogging community, but in the world at large that 2010 has been very difficult for many people (some have called it "annus horribilis"). It's not just the economy--which has caused job losses, unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies; I've also noticed many struggling with illnesses and surgeries, difficult relationships, and a feeling of hopelessness or confusion about the future. I myself have struggled with many of these things this year.

In many cultures, it is tradition to clean one's house before the New Year begins. It's a symbolic gesture of removing evil spirits, bad luck, or unhappy events from the previous year and prepare oneself for the good things of the future. I think that this is good advice. This can be a difficult time of year for many, who are feeling failure about unaccomplished goals from the previous year and feeling uncertain about the future. It's time to let go of the past and sweep it from our minds, and to be open to the good things that are down the road without holding on to fear. I imagine that many of you are like myself: you have difficulty just living in the moment and appreciating the present for what it is, a "present".

The Good
Despite the hardships of the past year, some very good things happened to me. The highlight of my year was meeting many wonderful people. This happened in several ways; one was that four geneabloggers came to Spokane at different times and I enjoyed my time with each and every one of them: JL, Becky, Thomas, and Craig. The second was that I was able to go to the Southern California Genealogical Society's 2010 Jamboree, where I met many geneabloggers for the first time and cemented in real life some great online friendships. It was at Jamboree that I also heard terrific lectures and was able to visit the graves of two of my husband's ancestors. And speaking of geneabloggers, we are all so blessed that Janice Brown of Cow Hampshire is back!

Another great thing that happened was that after a year-long dry spell, my genealogy speaking and teaching picked up. October was especially busy for me, teaching one class, and making six presentations during two consecutive weekends.

This blog, AnceStories, received two very meaningful awards: it was one of Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, and was one of My Heritage's Top 100 Genealogy Sites for 2010. Additionally, Leslie Albrecht Huber listed it as one of the "15 Genealogy Blogs You Need to Read" in the April 2010 issue of Discovering Family History.

I accomplished all three of my 2010 genealogy resolutions.

Although not genealogically-related, my health improved greatly after losing a total of 32 pounds this year (10 pounds in the spring right before Jamboree, and an additional 22 pounds this fall), and undergoing a minor surgery which appears to have repaired a chronic problem. I feel an energy that I have not had in quite a while.

My daughter, Melissa ("Missy"), got engaged on her 20th birthday. I'm looking forward to adding Brady to the family tree in a couple of years, although he already has become a part of our family!

So today, my friends, I have reflected, meditated, and considered 2010. And now I am making a conscious decision to enjoy the present, let go of the past, and look forward to the future without reservation. My 2011 Resolutions post follows soon.


Greta Koehl said...

I am so glad to hear that there were many positive moments in addition to all of the challenges you have faced this year. And I'm looking forward to all of the online digital archives, newspapers, and directories. These are exactly the kinds of resources I'm going to be focusing on this year - thanks for providing this service!

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Happy New Year Miriam! I wish for only good things for you and your family in the coming year.

Miriam Robbins said...

Greta and Apple, I forgot to mention some awards my blog received this year, so I have added in that information. Thank you for dropping by and a very happy new year to you both!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Miriam, I wish you the best in 2011.

Miriam Robbins said...

Thank you, Amy! And the same to you!