Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Triathalons and Patience in Genealogy

You may be wondering why you haven't heard anything from me this summer about doing more triathalons. (I'm sure you were just wondering that.)

I fell in early March. It was one of those strange falls where you hit it just wrong. Well, I hit my left knee really hard. Flat on the cement. It didn't really hurt the day of, but then I could hardly walk for the next couple of days. I knew I had done something to it, but I didn't want to deal with it. My father's family has a thorough history of knee problems and lots of knee replacements all around. So I just went into denial, and didn't want to go there. I tried to exercise some, and thought I would just push through it. I still had a month or two before I had to be ready for the first triathalon I wanted to do.

Turns out--not such a great idea. A couple of weeks ago, I finally gave in and went to the doctor. I'm sure I aggravated it more by trying to keep going. I should have just taken it easy. The good news was that I have good cartilage--part of my father's family's problem. Bad news, my muscles were all out of whack from trying to limp around on it, and my knee cap is messed up. I went into physical therapy to move things around, but I have the patience of a gnat and still want to push it too far. So I'm working on it slowly and surely.

I'm sure there is a family history lesson in this. I think you sometimes just have to have patience. I taught my serendipity class in Colorado last weekend. I talked about how there are lots of stories about how strange things happen to come together to further a genealogist's work, and most genealogists have experienced that. Randy Seaver calls them Geneagasms. It was fun, and at the end of class I opened it up to the class members and heard some more great stories. In fact, there was kind of a relaxing sigh, that they could acknowledge these hunches, or coincidences without thinking it was only happening to them. But in relating some of those stories, I had to stop and caution the class, that you can't expect serendipitous things to happen. Genealogy--in my experience--really comes in fits and starts. You work and work and work and then you catch a break. In fact, the really good serendipity stories are so good precisely because someone has been working on the problem for many years, and then finally a miracle happened. You just have to have PATIENCE. Wish I was better at that.

Well, I can still relate triathalons to any experience. I've got to get back at them so that I can start braging about it again. "That reminds me of a triathalon I did once...."

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