We all travel. The difference is how we define travelling. If traveling is a metaphor – then you travel throughout your life from childhood to old age. The literal meaning of travel – going from point a to point b by foot or by means of transportation - may be as simple as leaving the suburbs to travel into the city to visit a museum, once a year; or as complex as a voyage to Antarctica or the North Pole.
Rather than making a New Year’s resolution, I have chosen a metaphor – travel – as my goal for 2011. I choose to continue on an internal journey that will result in external changes.
I know when I began that journey – en route to the North Pole. [Note the symmetry.] I met someone who was the subject of an episode of “Who do You Think You Are?” – the Irish version. When he told me the discoveries the genealogists had made about his family history, I was left with a personal question, “Why do we define ourselves by race, nationality and religion?” Are we really who we think we are?
My ancestry was a mystery. We could not trace it back more than 3 generations, and that was only on the maternal side. Due to a catastrophic event in the 1920s we believed we would never have the answers to the paternal lineage. As the genealogists say, we faced a brick wall.
In 2010, we found a way over that brick wall. With the new-found information about our family tree, how we define ourselves changed completely. I am at a crossroad. Do I adopt the reality, and reject a half a century of self-definition? Or do I let go of the past, defining myself only in terms of the future? That is my 2011 journey.