If I could travel in time, I would go back to the end of 19th century, because this is the time when some of my ancestors lived and those people became legends for me. To start with, one of great great grandfathers had lived for 108 years. He spent the first half of his life in serfdom (=slavery), but when serfs were freed he chose to get some education, became a vet and continued to live his life happily. I saw the picture of him at 103, and I was amazed by the energy or light (not sure how to call it) he was beaming with. If angels come to this world, he was definitely one of them. I don’t know any other ways to explain how one can survive such hardships and not only stay alive but also remain positive and «bitterless».
Thanks to him I know for sure that: a) you live as long as you want to live; b) no matter what life throws at you or how unfair people are with you it’s you who decides how to react. That’s why I would like to talk to him and find out his secret. What did he do differently? And what does it take to overcome particularly tough things?
The cult of family is something that — without a doubt — should be in the life of everyone.
When I was in the 9th grade and started writing the history of my family, I couldn’t even imagine what a profound impression it would make on me. An enormous amount of information was handed down to me — the moments of happiness and sorrow, and choices and decisions the strength and wisdom of which make me stand in awe all these years and have a slightly unconventional and fresh look at many things.
However, the most important thing I’ve found out is the inner mechanisms that operate within a family. On the one hand, a person is a representative of his family, a small part of a long chain, one of many, so to speak. Even without this small part the family wouldn’t have existed. On the other hand, this person is — at some point — the final «product» of the whole family, to which all its members aspired with all their being and for which they cried their tears and cherished their dreams. He is where the family temporarily ends.
It is his family where one can realise his own significance and at the same time responsibility that he has towards both — his family members (even those who existed a long time ago and he hasn’t heard about) and the whole world. Thus, he is not a separate entity: his happiness is the happiness of his family, and their happiness is his happiness too. Even self-betrayal can be considered as a betrayal of his family. That doesn’t mean, of course, that one is totally dependent on others: what I’m talking about is more about something spiritual and eternal rather than anything else, it’s about some kind of love that goes through centuries within a family, from one generation to another, something sacred. That’s why I think it’s important that one should have his own descendants to whom we can pass on all our precious memories, unbelievable stories that happened to us and traces of bitterness that we felt. The story of one’s life tells a lot.
When we’re alive, we don’t really think about what we want to say to those who come after us and what will happen to the persona we’ve created. What will they say? How will they react to what we’ve done? And will they remember us at all? I’ve always wondered whether those distant ancestors ever knew that I, someone they didn’t even know, would be writing about them. I think the answer is NO. The same applies to us — we don’t know who will come after us, but it’s those unknown who will attach certain value to every breath we took; without the family something deep and profound is lost, and whatever one does starts to resemble a sandcastle that will be gone in a minute or two.