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what matters

November 7, 2011

[Welcome to Chasing Maybes. Here, I stare down my preferences and prejudices, one Trivial Pursuit category at a time.  I’m tying a big red ribbon around October’s category, History, and sending it lovingly on its way to make room for our next chapter.]

Happy Monday morning, and welcome to the next day of the rest of your life…  or something. 

Concluding my History chapter, this past week found me steeped in a million different shades of the past:  genealogy, reunions, religion, death, ways of knowing.  While I have so much more to learn on each of these topics — I’m only skating on their surfaces now — I am thrilled by where this project has led me so far.

image by l. marie via flickr

We are off to my hometown next weekend, where my parents have invited me to dig through their copious family history files.  If you had told me I’d be excited by this prospect three months ago, I just might have laughed uproariously.  Today?  I can’t wait to dig in, which is a primary gift of this Chasing Maybes project.  Prior to beginning this process of challenging my preferences, I couldn’t have imagined its richness; its depths.

My good friend lost her grandmother two weeks ago.  She sent me the obituary yesterday, accompanied by a note chronicling her surprise at some of the details of her grandmother’s life.  “There’s a part of me that feels I’m missing something not claiming some of that family history,”  she wrote.  “I don’t expect that it’s going to change who I am, but it would certainly give me a new appreciation for my family.”  In her message, she said she was committed to asking more questions, doing more research, and learning more about the origins of the family she loves so much.  She said this month’s CM category had encouraged her pursuit of her family history — another gift of this project.

image by adam selwood via flickr

Have you ever completed the telling “write your own obituary” exercise, which demands that you distill who and what you were, what your life meant, in a few short sentences?  I recall doing it in high school, but I can’t for the life of me (pun intended) remember what mine said.  Because of my good friend’s message, I’ll consider my obituary this week.  I’ll try to listen beyond the noise and to overlook the minutiae.  I’ll try my best to pay attention to what is beautiful, I’ll try to want what I have, and I’ll try to ignore what won’t “mean a thing in a hundred years,” as the Blues Traveler song goes.

With my boys

It’s a new month, and — for those of you who notice such things — I’ll be addressing the final Trivial Pursuit pie piece, Arts and Literature, in November.  I just can’t wait.

I hope today finds you surrounded by what matters.  Thank you, as always, for showing up.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 1:03 pm

    As someone who has lost both parents, I can’t tell you how much I wish that I had spent even more time with them and learned more about their memories and histories. I promise that you will never regret the time spent despite how boring it may seem today… The gems are the hundreds of small stories that go along with the articles, photos and documents. Enjoy!!!

  2. November 7, 2011 5:41 pm

    Alan, what a poignant reminder to pay attention to the little things now… I really appreciate it.

  3. Emily MacGregor permalink
    November 8, 2011 12:55 pm

    Thank you for this today, I needed it!

    • November 8, 2011 8:37 pm

      oh, Emily, it is so great to hear from you! I hope you are doing great. love seeing pics of that cute boy on FB.

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  1. art? well, we’ll call it success. « Chasing Maybes

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