Sunday, December 17, 2017
Integrating Genealogy Into Your Lifestyle
The term "lifestyle" has been used a lot the last few years as the focus of our society, especially here in the United States, has become more "me" oriented. I never could figure out what my own "lifestyle" consisted of. The term lifestyle also seems to go with the term "active retirement" and even the idea of having a "bucket list." All of these concepts seem foreign to me. When I retired from my active law practice (more based on interests rather than economics) I was already so heavily involved in genealogy that I hardly noticed the change. I simply did more writing and more research. I also continued to volunteer at the Mesa FamilySearch Library.
However, I realize, in talking to some of my friends, that the idea of retirement evokes every emotion from anticipation to terror. One of my friends was facing a year-end retirement situation and was at a complete loss as to what he would be doing once he did not come to the office every day. In his case, he was facing a serious "lifestyle" change in the current jargon.
Genealogy can be a total "lifestyle" commitment. I happen to associate with people who, like me, wake up thinking about genealogy and go to bed with the same topic. I am certain that this "lifestyle" has little general attraction and few would look forward to doing something as time intensive and totally adsorbing as genealogy when they finally "retire." In fact, few can fit genealogical research into their current "busy" days even if they are far from retiring.
When the "outside world" thinks of genealogy or family history, they think of a "hobby" or part-time activity that might take a few hours a month, not an all-encompassing activity that looks a lot like a full-time job. True, you could do a little bit of research once and while and consider yourself a genealogist or family historian. But from my perspective, genealogy is a professional level activity. My genealogical activity actually takes me more time and mental effort than my intense legal trial practice.
Is there a middle ground? Can you be a "genealogist" and still have a life outside of genealogy? Of course, the answer is yes. By the way, I am not the best example of a balance between genealogy and other interests, but just because there are "full-time" genealogists does not mean that there is no place for those with less time and inclination.