Genealogy as Therapy
Just the other day someone asked me why I was so in love with genealogy. As I went to give my answer, which I thought would be a quick and easy one, I surprised myself as I hesitated and said 'give me a minute to think about that'. As I was trying to formulate my answer, I found that I was asking myself the very same question: 'Why do I love genealogy so much?' What was it about the pursuit of my family history, genealogy, and ancestry that, even after years and years of work, I still have the same interest and passion for it as I did on day one?
I have to admit that the answer as to why I love genealogy didn't dawn on me right away. The person who posed the original question to me got quite bored with waiting and wandered off. I also admit to finding myself in a bit of a fog as I pondered this seemingly simple inquiry for quite some time.
As I was lying in bed that night, it dawned on me! The answer was pure and simple:
Genealogy is the best therapy I have ever had!
I'll name it Geneatherapy!
The more I thought about this revelation, the more I believed it to be true. I was so excited thinking about this that it took me hours to finally drift off to sleep. When I awoke in the morning and found I still agreed with my late-night discovery I was convinced it was totally true!
You see, my geneatherapy has helped me, my family, my extended family, old friends, new friends and colleagues, and provided me with endless (and I do mean endless) hours, to which my wife will attest, of learning and losing myself in subjects I never dreamed I would find an interest in earlier in my life.
First, geneatherapy has taught me to understand myself far, far better than I ever did before. I truly 'get' why I love the foods I love, the music I tend to appreciate most, the pride and the prejudices I grew up with, and basically why I am the person I am.
Second, my geneatherapy has helped my family. Not only do they better understand and know their roots, but they understand me (and my peccadillos) better!
Third, my geneatherapy has helped our extended family. Over and over, when I connect with newly 'found' cousins the response includes something along the lines of "Wow, I thought I was from a very small family. How wonderful to know it is so large and welcoming!"
Next, my geneatherapy has expanded, improved, and enhanced friendships literally worldwide! Old friends have been helped, a multitude of new friends have been made, and the support, help, and learning with new colleagues has been a truly marvelous two-way street.
Finally, my geneatherapy has drawn me into learning a vast amount of knowledge in totally new areas that I was unfamiliar with before. I learned that I love genealogy, but also that I love history, genetics, science, math, geography, paleography, archeology, and a whole lot more! Plus geneatherapy has shown me the true love of learning simply for the sake of learning when it is a subject you enjoy!
So you see, geneatherapy is the best kind of therapy there is...win-win therapy! It has helped me immensely and it has helped countless others!
If you aren't already a fan of genealogy and ancestry, you simply MUST try geneatherapy! It's a gift that keeps on giving!