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Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Secrets Hidden In My Cultural Heritage

Thanks to the most thoughtful gift anyone has EVER given me, I recently learned of my distinct cultural heritage. It’s a question that has lingered with me, unanswered, for a long time. Ever since I can remember I’ve had this need to know exactly who I am, be it my unique ethnic background, my perfect career or calling, or my innate interests, hobbies, and skills. In knowing who I am, or who I am meant to be, maybe *fingers crossed* I'd be better at being Me.

You see, the ultimate human desire is to belong. Don't let those hipsters fool you. By definition we can only survive within a community. The early development of man was fostered around the evening bonfire gatherings. Without them there would be no language or agriculture, and I'd argue no computers. Progress is born from Innovation, Innovation from Community, and Community from Identity.

The Secrets Hidden In My Cultural Heritage - the results of my AncenstryDNA test

Chasing the Dream

Knowing this it should be no surprise that I have been dying to know where my family history specifically originates. My mountain to climb in life has been finding out where I fit in. There are a few horror stories from my youth of classmates not fully accepting me because I wasn't "enough" of a certain race or culture which I claimed. That devastated me to such a point that as an adult I often ignore my accomplishments, supposing there must be a higher level of effort or value to get to. To be finally whole.

Every now and then I would share this with Spencer, along with a quick sales pitch for a genetic heritage test. And every time those DNA evaluations came up he asked me what I thought would change about me or my life. Honest answer? I hope my life would change in some hyperbolic way. Maybe I’d get swept up in one of those crazy stories discovering that I am an heiress to a massive European fortune or that I’m descended from some stoic and influential Native American tribe. At the very least it would put my restless, wandering heart at ease about the question of who I belonged to.

That Feeling You Get When You've Found It

Spencer gave in this past Christmas and the results were revealed the other night! Just seeing the email subject filled my anxious heart so much I thought it would explode. As expected the distribution was very colorful and diverse proving an association with many different peoples and places. And thankfully the hubs and I are not related…haha. Other than this the results weren’t too specific, so I don’t know if I’ll be coming into any large sums of money. But I just can’t get over this overwhelming and somewhat indescribable feeling having read over the results a hundred times already. Suddenly the deepest, darkest chasms of my soul were on fire. This may sound overly romantic, but it's true.

Have you ever had a secret that made you feel special to be in the know? You wanted to tell everyone because the notion was so incredible, but you know you can't which made the secret that much more satisfying. That’s how I feel! It’s as if I know something others do not, something wonderful and precious that I can so clearly see a connection to. I’m officially part of a club. I literally know who I am.

This information has given me an unusual power to influence the world around me. I can precisely say what I bring to the table with confidence and excitement, versus assumption. Everything I wish to achieve in life is about making something valuable, to leave an impression. Someday I'll gather all the pieces of my voice and use them in all the ways I can make fit. And I guess what I’m saying is that I am “one giant leap” closer to being able to do that because I have a bit more Identity in my arsenal. And you know what Identity eventually leads to.

What Knowing Who You Are Does For Others

The purpose of knowing who you are is not necessarily about you. Sorry. A majority of the job requires one to examine how his or her being reflects onto or interacts with others. My best friend Sara is a perfect example of this. She absolutely knows who she is and how she can give to those around her. I am in awe of her talent to just do. Confidence in one's abilities and skills plus excitement for the possibilities leads to the kind of conviction with which a person can selflessly do anything. 

I wish everyone in the world felt as safe and motivated to do good. Instead we must face the many distractions as if it were a cold, heavy rainfall: squinting, hesitant, and desperate. How easy it is to become lost these days! Each restless, wandering heart continuing the search. Do we know where to look? Writing for me has been a teacher in itself - in a good way. But this recent epiphany... Wow. I'm surely on my way to the land of the contented. We all could be if we only had a chance for the same experience. Here's some ideas I came up with for where to start:
  • Family & Friends - Reignite those prehistoric campfires, so to speak, and share more with the people around you. Don't forget to listen too.
  • Education - Pick up that book that caught your eye at the library the other day. Heck, just stop by the library for the library's sake. Knowledge is the only thing that lasts in this world. Well, Knowledge and Love.
  • Prayer/Meditation - Give yourself a moment of peace (or twenty). Goodness knows we need more of it in this world. Allow yourself to hear what the universe might be trying to tell you.
  • Activity - If you've spent the last 6-8 months at home in bed on the computer *cough cough* force yourself to do something else. Try a new sport or hobby, get some fresh air, meet new people.

"Whatever you are, be a good one." I love this lesson from William Makepeace Thackeray. I couldn't have said it better myself, Sir. Whether you know who you are or are still trying to get there doesn't matter. What matters is if you are doing a good job of it. Are you?

P.S. Self-discovery requires a little rest and relaxation. Get the Make Leisure Sweeter checklist in your inbox to learn get ideas for making the most of your free time. Sign up right here.

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Kristyn here. I'm really good at Googling, dreaming, and thinking outside the box. Someday I'm going to save all the puppies and perform on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.

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