Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Perfect Gift: Write 20 Minutes a Day from Now until Christmas

This was a challenge from a genealogy blogger before last Christmas, so it was sort of a finite, manageable challenge. I did not hear about it until today, 31 Jan 2012, so for me that means 11 months of blogging for 20 minutes a day, on genelaogy. I am sure I have more than 20 minutes worth of typing I could do on that topic every day. Neither do I doubt that I have 20 minutes per day I could spend doing it. I have recently discovered Pinterest.com and wasted many hours on that site.

I read about this challenge because of RootsTech 2012 > the blog from World Vital Records > which I just just subscribed to via RSS Feed. I have just recently figured out how to work RSS Feed subscriptions. That is what is going to save me from Pinterest, I hope. Well, I know that what will really save me from Pinterest is my own self-discipline, and the grace of God :-) I had set a personal goal for 2011 to do some work on family history every day that year. I had a folder going on my computer for the year>each month>daily logging. I recognized that a research log would have satisfied my tracking that. I have started again this year and have entries in my January folder. 'Time to make a February folder! My, my, where has January gone?! In the middle of the night - after Pinterest - I realized I had not given genealogy any (much) thought that day. So, I went looking for family of a friend, hoping to find them still living.

I have recently gotten onto SSI, and my whole drive and goals have shifted. Last night I put infinity and infinity together and realized that might be an oportunity for earning a living - searching for living people - that would dovetail with skills for genealogy research.

Yesterday was my last session for physical therapy on my left hand. I had carpal tunnel release surgery on the 6th of September 2011. Typing is the biggest challenge I have with my left wrist. If I am not sitting in a good position my hand has to go all out to reach the keyboard keys. I don't totally touch type. I never took a typing/keyboarding class. I look at the keyboard when I type, and go back and proofread before I finish a document. That is my life. Someday I might trust myself that I will touch-type. Meanwhile, my left hand is tingly. 20 minutes are up.

Check out RootsTech 2012


Here is that blog entry - the 20 minutes per day challenge - self discipline....

The perfect heartfelt gift – 20 minutes a day
The Olsens
The perfect heartfelt gift – 20 minutes a day

My baby sister has been driving her siblings nuts this year as she prepares a special gift for our parents.

For the past few months, she’s been “encouraging” us to write down our childhood memories so she can add them to a photo book she’s creating. It’s a great idea – but also hard work. To me, it’s a time-consuming emotional process to go through your memories, put them down nicely on paper and share them with the world, or at least with the family. But what better present could there be? You on paper for your children, parents and relatives.

I’d like nothing more than to have my siblings, parents, our only surviving grandparent and more of my extended family write their stories and share them. As I delve deeper into our family history I realize what great knowledge we hold in our minds. It all dies when a relative passes and has not recorded his or her memories, or caring relatives had not succeeded in prying out those memories.

Although possibly an arduous process, what a great gift it is to record your personal history. Instead of always looking to your parents and grandparents, perhaps it’s time to understand the importance of recording your own stories as well as those of your family.

In reality, I’m preaching to myself as I realize what a great gift it would be to share the stories in my head with my children. I’m still young, but getting older by the minute. I may as well record my stories now and avoid having my grandchildren insist that I immediately start talking while they stare and record.

As the holidays get ever closer, I’ve come up with a plan of action. My goal is to sit and write for at least 20 minutes a day – not more – to record my memories and stories. From there, I’ll adapt and adjust it, but what’s important right now is just to begin. Whether or not I give this as a gift this year is yet to be seen, but the real gift is the security of knowing that – no matter when I go – at least my past will remain for my loved ones.

I’d like to invite my readers to join me in this 20-minute goal from now until Christmas Day. Write what you want – but write something — so that your family will have this special gift when you are gone.


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