Cheers to 41: The True Me? Examining My Ancestral Past

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My name is Laura.  I was born on Sunday, February 12, 1978.  I am 5’2”.  I have blue-green eyes, depending on what I am wearing or where the sunlight is or is not hitting on my face.  My hair is definitely curly and the color is debatable.  As I get older I seem to forget that I am no longer the goldilocks of my youth, particularly when people ask me where Sophia got her towhead hair color.  I have an athletic build, which is at times leaner than others, and a somewhat petite frame.  My skin is fair, with olive undertones, and I get very dark in the summertime without much effort while wearing SPF 30.

Personality? I am a type-A neurotic New Yorker, born and raised, with a high level of anxiety.  I am incredibly motivated, driven, and can be very hard on myself.  I can be obsessive and ruminate.  And yet, at the same time, I am easy to get along with, I can be playful, grounded, nurturing, I have a ton of energy, and I love to have a good time. I am someone who is looking to grow; and at times, I also feel like I have had enough and want to just stand still.

A few years ago, my good friend Aimee Barr, introduced me to the School of Humanity and Awareness.  There, I had my first Kinesiology session.  We discussed my lineage.  My people.  As an Eastern European Jew, my ancestors were Holocaust Survivors.  While I do not have any known family members that were Holocaust survivors, years prior my paternal grandmother emigrated to the United States from Russia when she was seven with her Orthodox Father due to the pograms.

My main takeaway from my first SOHA experience was the following: we take on our ancestral feelings, personas, and experiences.  And a large percentage of what we take on is not authentically us.  Given my history, it is no surprise that there is anxiety, along with a scarcity mindset that there is never enough.  And there will never be enough.  So I better cling and hold onto what I have. I better hedge my bets.  I better always have a back up plan; and a back up to my back up.

But how much of this is truly me?  How much of it, instead, is something I inherited?

Just like the color of my eyes?

Have you ever had a moment where, you behave in a certain way, and then afterwards you cannot believe you did that?  Almost as if a foreigner temporarily invaded your body and spoke on your behalf?  I have.  And usually, it is when I have behaved out of impulse; instead of taking a moment to breathe, reassess, and process.

Over the past year, since my fortieth birthday,  I have dipped my toe into meditation.  In my post "Reflections: Gratitude, Staying Present and the Fragility of Life" I mentioned that through meditation, as well as my running, I am able to get more into my heart.  From there, I tend to make both professional and personal decisions that are more authentic.

I have heard many times that, the older we get, the harder it is to change.  We become set in our ways.  We have our routines.  We have spent a longer amount of time thinking a certain way, and relating to our experiences from a certain vantage point.  It makes logical sense that, as we get older, it is harder to shift.  To change.  And, I am sure the same way that our physical muscles do not recover as quickly as we age after an intense workout, there is some biological reason as to how our brain reacts and interprets as we age, making it harder to shift.

As I head into my 42nd year of life, I have a lot of experiences.  A lot of history.  I am used to seeing things from a certain point of view; from feeling experiences a certain way.  That being said, have I been seeing it through my own authentic eyes? Or, is it in the eyes of my ancestors?

Or a little bit of both?

Perhaps by next year, I will have the answer.

Laura Kovall