Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just Thinking...

It's snowing, just a little now, so nice to see tree branches outlined in crystal white.

I've been thinking about my family research...small glimmers of wanting to start again.   All those stories, just waiting for someone to tell them.   I don't know what to do.  I've collected oodles of information. on all sorts of relatives, recent ones, long-long-long dead ones.  I've collected so much information I don't know what I have, really.  I like hunting for data and I'm good at it. I like trying to be "complete" and I'm compulsive enough and persistent enough to amass huge volumes of information.  I've scanned originals of so image files on my laptop are gigabytes and gigabytes of original records, newspapers, family photos and papers, photographs of dusty books and papers found in local government offices, museum libraries, and archives.  And there it all sits.   I might as well not have done any of it, since nobody sees it, even me.

I was feeling overwhelmed long before I came to Second Life.  I spent at least a year having periodic outbursts online about how I couldn't write...whine, whine, whine, whine.   And every research question multiplies at least ten-fold.  At least for me it does.  More and more questions.  More and more data.  I ground to a dead halt after my last research trip last June.   Stalled.  "out to lunch"  "on vacation" in Second Life.

So much fun to be a student...have a teacher assign homework, small chunks, well-defined problems.  Or to work on a project and be told what to do, respectively for sure, but still, the airship isn't my vision, so he's in charge, definitely, and when he says "that's not important" when I start making things more and more complicated, I don't argue.

I feel like I can set goals, define problems, define what to do sometimes.   I've done that in some jobs, some volunteer contexts pretty much all my life.  But it's always been to serve others...I think that's a key characteristic for situations where I've been a productive problem solver.   When it comes to just me I run into trouble.  Household projects...I'm surrounded by unfinished ones...such chaos.   I've never had "a dream" that was just mine.  Something I felt compelled to do.   Family research is something I started doing because I needed something to occupy my brain, something I could do at home, something where I wouldn't need to commit to others regarding my progress.  I found that I love so much about it...the interdisciplinary framework that's required, the problem-solving, the analysis, and learning about people's lives, getting hints about their stories.   But feeling overwhelmed and unproductive is not fun.   It's depressing.  

I want to feel productive.  Like I'm contributing to this world, some how, some way.  Another thing I lost with this illness.  Feeling like I could contribute.  Be a giver, rather than a taker.

I think if I could figure out a way to start sharing my family research it would help with those feelings.  I know other family members would be interested.  I could feel good about that, sharing with them.  I just need to figure out a way to start.  To put one foot in front of another.   Writing here has helped, I think, to get my head out of Second Life 24/7.  It's since writing here that I've started thinking about what to do about my family research material.   So, perhaps, that would be one way...just pick a person and start writing about them, not requiring "complete" or tight analysis.   I guess that would be a start.  I just have to make sure I don't dig myself another overwhelming hole...I'm already surrounded by too many of them.

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