Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My one hundreth post: on history and change

Well, actually it is somewhat of a cheat. I had to delete a previous post to time it better, and realised that now, Joe the Plumber is not post number 100 on this blog. I really wanted something substantial or profound for this post, though in a way, maybe Joe the plumber is a better choice, more unexpected and real.

Still, this is post number 100 and I don't know what to blog about. Perhaps I should mention the historic elections that are taking place today, so that when I read back over this, in years to come, I can remember what everyone was talking about. But will this pos be special in a number of years? And will this election have been as historic as they say?

There is a funny thing about the word 'historic'. All it really means is that something is part of history, or if used in a different way, that something changes history. But every moment that you live or breath changes history. My decision this morning on what to eat changes history. The diaper I changed changes history. Every small decision, whether it is your choice of clothing, of food, of what to buy or what to do, is a part of the rich tapestry that will form your history.

During research, one of the greatest sources for Historians are not really the treaties that have been signe, even though those are the things that end up in museums. What tells us infinitely more about our ancestors are their diaries. We don't just want they did, but why. How they lived their life. One of my new favorite books of all times "No idle hands: the social history of American Knitting" takes us into the lives of women, from the first colonists to ninenteenseventies college girls. We look through diaries and letters and see lives filled with completely different activities. We understand more how great social changes came to be by the amount of time that needed to be spend on spinning and weaving, on knitting for the troops. We understand better how a woman was perceived differently as tasks that needed to be done with great skill by hand were replaced by machines
History is not just made in battles, it is made in the crumbs of the breakfast table this morning. In the conversations struck up in lines waiting outside the polls today just as much as in the votes that will be cast.

History is made in a smile that you send to a stranger, and the kiss that you give to your child. You never know if that smile will encourage someone on a bad day, will give him a laugh to look at life again, might make him into a more confident man, which leads him to find and ask a wonderful woman to be his wife, who gives him a wonderful child, that turns out to become the next president of the united states. And all just because you smiled. Well... maybe not just because of that, but still... the point is that we all make history. One breath at a time.

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