In this society, looking back is considered very uncool. We are encouraged to be in the present. The past is seen as an obstacle to moving forward. Reminiscence is considered a nostalgic waste of time.We should be looking ahead at the next new path.
I believe most of us are not looking back enough.
How much do you know about your family history? Maybe you know where your parents were born but what about your grandparents? Your aunts and uncles? Can you picture their family life?
I am going to tell you about an incredible experience. I’m going to talk about a pilgrimage, for lack of a stronger term. This word denotes a journey to a sacred place. Actually it can be a simple exploration of one’s lineage. My brother Steve, sister Rita, and I set out on a true pilgrimage to my dad’s birthplace. Steve, an extremely knowledgable historian/Holocaust researcher prepared the groundwork for us. He had fastidiously mapped out our father’s town to the point of fairly accurately locating his exact house. He outlined the path the family took to the concentration camp. My cousin Richard came along as our guide. His presence was invaluable for his multilingualism, personal experience and high entertainment value.
No wonder why it has taken so long to get words on paper. What gypsy has the tenacity to sit and write? We write in our minds, we start paragraphs on one of the four computers scattered around. We can’t find the documents and fit them together. We write on our phones, in one of our 7 journals, on scraps of paper, but mainly we write in our heads. All the time. We buy new laptops and declare” this one is devoted solely to writing” but soon a kid picks it up, we can’t find it, and then can’t recall where we saved the document.
Or if it was saved at all.
It’s not easy being a gypsy. I don’t have a 401K, don’t plan more than two weeks in advance, make decisions on a whim. I leave one of my offices at the end of the day and bring everything with me because who knows if I will ever be back there? I could be dead or in another town altogether. Even if I am scheduled to be in the next day. My diplomas are in the basement because I don’t have an attachment to any workspace enough to hang them up. There is always a suitcase in the bedroom, ready for the next move.
Now I am a 58 year old trying to figure out what I want to be. Now don’t get me wrong; on paper it all looks very conventional. I am a medical doctor, specializing in Psychiatry. I have been married to the same man for 28 years, live in the house I grew up in, have 3 kids. But nothing is as it seems.
We’re going to get to know each other real well through this blog. We’re going to cover a lot of territory and have some fun. I’ll be a doctor, a guide and a friend, depending what we need. We are going to go light and we are going to go deep. No holds barred.