My first genealogy post: I feel like I should write about something profound. As it turns out, it coincided with a birthday event, so I will write about that. I do not know if that is profound or not.
In my classes, I encourage people to write their own stories as well as writing their family histories. On a blog at the New York Public Library, Carmen Nigro shared 20 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Family History.
All of her reasons were spot-on excellent, but I thought to mention a few.
- There is a need for diverse family histories about those who have not been represented well in history texts
- There is a need for more family histories documenting female lines
- There is a need for more family histories about families who are not affluent
These 3 all speak to the issue of who has written their stories in the past. We have a tendency to think, ‘who am I to think that someone would want to read my story?’ And yet each of us would be thrilled if their very ordinary ancestor had left some kind of writing or diary or letters that shared a peek into their lives at the time. Someday, our ancestors will be looking for the same about us.
- It may help you understand your current family dynamics
- It will help you build or solidify a sense of family
These 2 share the same theme to me, that we learn who we are by learning where we came from.
- Family histories are important historical documents
This is just so much fun. We are, of course, living history. So what we write becomes historical documents.
- Family trees are abstract, stories add depth
- Writing your family history gives you the chance to depict your ancestors how you see fit
These 2 are about adding richness to your family story. Everyone’s perspective adds to the depth and breadth of your story.
So, now that we’ve decided that writing our own stories is a good idea, I will share a chapter of mine.
Every year, I decide to participate in an event or activity that I haven’t done, either ever or for a long time. (Family parties occur on a separate day.) Sometimes these challenge me to step out of my box a little.
Some of the things I’ve done in the past include horse riding in Garden of the Gods, spelunking (?) in Cave of the Winds, and last year’s event was visiting the big cat sanctuary, Serenity Springs Wildlife Center. (I love big cats. Well, I just love cats.)
This year I decided to do the zipline at Royal Gorge. One other time I did a small zipline that was short and close to the ground. They call this one the Cloudscraper, and you travel 1200 feet above the Arkansas River below. It is the highest zipline in the country.
My daughter agreed to go with me. The night before we were scheduled to go, I called her and asked if we were still on, half hoping she’d say no. I admit to being freaked out slightly apprehensive. When she said we were good to go, I pulled up my big girl panties and away we went.
Some of you may know that the Royal Gorge experienced significant fire damage when fires raced through Colorado. Royal Gorge was almost totally destroyed. All that remained was the suspension bridge. So, the gondolas, and zipline and buildings are all new since then.
We took the gondola over the canyon first of all, and walked down to watch the documentary movie about the history of the park, including before and after the fire. Then we walked over the bridge, enjoying the incredible view.
We then took the gondola up again and came down on the zipline. Truthfully, after we were there, I wasn’t as nervous. I wasn’t shaking or anything, but I did agree with my daughter we should wait to eat until after the zipline-just in case.
Sure as the world, it started sprinkling just as we got in line and I got scared that, this close to achieving my goal, I would be thwarted by rain. But they let us go.
I refrained from giving off a death scream as we went off the side. It turns out that it is kind of a controlled speed rather than a ‘zip as fast as you can’ thing, so there was no terror involved. I did give off a ‘Woot’ -just because I could. Excellent experience!
I refrained from buying the ‘I survived’ t-shirt, but that is how I really felt. It seems I always feel stronger after having faced my fears.
What special events do you plan for your birthday? I’d love to hear how you celebrate ‘a year older.’ Are they part of your story?