Recently Scotland voted on whether or not to secede from England and become an independent country. There is a long-standing tension between the two countries, and the people of Scotland seemed equally split on whether or not to leave.
I was glued to my smart phone on the day of the vote, constantly refreshing the BBC app for results. Around 11 p.m., I got my answer. The United Kingdom will remain united, at least for now.
My obsession with the election was due in large part to my Scottish heritage. On my father’s side I am descendent of Clan Hunter, and despite living in America my whole life, I strongly identify with my Scottish roots.
I’ve always been fascinated by my heritage, and I love learning about my clan’s history. However, it’s one thing to read about your ancestry and look at pedigree charts, and it’s another entirely to experience it.
In 2006 I had the opportunity to visit Scotland with my family. We spent a week exploring our ancestral home and even visited the Hunterston Castle — yes, my family has a castle. While I was there, treading the almost-too-green grounds in Hunterston, climbing the cobblestone paths in Edinburgh and listening to the accents all around me, I had the strangest feeling.
Scotland, more than any place I’ve ever visited, felt like home.
You may be thinking, “This is cool for you and all, but so what?”
Let me explain. Clan Hunter’s motto is “cursum perficio,” which means, “I will finish the course.” This phrase, along with my knowledge of the people who coined it, has helped me navigate my life.
I’m a full-time student who works two jobs. I’m married, I’m a homeowner and I am responsible for the well-being of not one, but four cats. I spend most of my days running from responsibility to responsibility.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. It’s a busy, crazy mess, and every day is a new adventure. Every responsibility is an opportunity, and I’m the luckiest person in the world to have those opportunities.
But sometimes it all seems like too much. During those crazy times, “cursum perficio” becomes my personal mantra.
My connection to my ancestral roots has helped shape how I approach trials and difficulties. I take comfort in the idea that several hundred years ago my ancestors were facing their own trials, and perhaps they also turned to the clan motto for guidance.
It is thanks to my ancestors that, despite the trials ahead, I am determined to finish my course.