I was updating my Goodreads shelves a little while ago, and noticed that all but two of the books I logged for 2014 were historical non-fiction or fiction. Add to that, 44 hours of recorded lectures on history. Add to that, who knows how many hours of historical documentaries and dramas on video.
I’m on a bit of a kick.
One of my favorite things about being my age is forehead-smacking insight into my own life. Like I’ve been working on a connect-the-dots picture for forty-plus years and can suddenly see the pattern emerge.
SMACK! I love history!
I’ve loved history all my life. I always preferred historical books to nearly any other kind. As a kid, I was mad for those picture books that showed ancient Roman villas or medieval castles in minute detail. I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up. The museum is the first place I want to go in any new city. In the last few years, I’ve discovered a passion for genealogy–not just mine, but everyone’s. Microfiche readers excite me. I’ve almost trained Facebook to only feed me headlines that involve dead kings in car parks.
How didn’t I know this? Obviously, I love history. But I didn’t see it before. I was just going from dot to dot. From this thing, to that.
It’s wonderful, this eureka feeling. But a little wistfulness follows it. I wish I’d known some of these things sooner. When I was eighteen and miserable in college, majoring in what I thought I was supposed to do, and hating it, I wish I’d known that I loved history.
And while I’m wishing, it would’ve also been good to know that transitions are tricky for me. That I have a fierce competitive streak. That I hate repetition. That I’m capable of lasting relationships. That I would love being a mother. That too much solitude and not enough sunlight is detrimental to my mental health.
I wish I’d known me better.
It’s not very enlightened to admit to regrets. I don’t know how you come this far without rueing some of the time spent on detours and dead ends. But I guess they were dots in the puzzle too. A straight line doesn’t make a very interesting picture.