Thursday, August 20, 2009

My (TMI) Timeline

OK, I'm crawling out from under my rock because of two things:

1.) I owe a lot of wonderful people "7 things about me" for thinking of me when passing out awards!

2.) I happened to catch up on my blogroll reading and find that Willoughby, 5thsister and Muddy Runner , and hopefully others (I'm still catching up!) have posted these timelines - what a cool idea!!! So I figured I'd work on mine...and in about a half hour I had basically typed this out.

How I love to reminisce! And it's funny, until someone prods you for information or they talk about their own history, sparking memories of your past, you tend to forget things. It's so important to remember, because even the littlest things play a part in shaping who we become.

Caution: I got carried away - it's kind of a long read, so if you have to go to the bathroom, you'd better go before you start reading...

(In 5-year increments)

Today, 8/20/09:
I’m a 44 year-old mom of a kiddo who starts preschool in a couple weeks and I’m excited for her! I’ve also realized that I need to take about 4 weeks vacation before the end of the year (use it or lose it deal) so I’m scouring the calendar, trying to pick the perfect days to take off. It may include a trip to Disney World in December. Summer is coming to an end, although here in New England we really didn’t HAVE a summer until a couple weeks ago – it’s been a very gloomy, rainy summer. Nevertheless, I am still looking forward to fall – the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in September, apple picking, fall festivals and fairs and foliage. Married life has been challenging lately, but we are working on it. We just started eating dinner at the dining room table every night, and no later than 6 o'clock. (We'll give us some slack on weekends, though!)

Five Years ago, 8/20/04
I’m a few months into my 39th year. We are finalizing plans for our big trip with friends, Tracy and Mike – Flying to Las Vegas on 9/12, two nights there, then driving to the Grand Canyon (South Rim), two nights there, then on to Sedona for one night, then driving to Phoenix for the flight home. Little did I know, it would be the last “BIG” vacation for a while… I pee on a stick on October 23rd and am shocked to see a plus sign. I think I must be in menopause or something. My hairdresser is the first to know, because I have an appointment to get my hair foiled, and I feel the need to ask if she thinks it's ok. I decide to wait until AFTER my ironically scheduled annual check up on Monday, Oct 25th to tell my husband, because I figure those home pregnancy tests are not reliable so I’d rather hear it from a doctor. Turns out, if it’s “yes”, they’re usually right! I’m going to be a mom!

Ten years ago, 8/20/99:
I’m 34 years old, a year into a new job that’s 5 minutes from my house in a tall shiny office building, for a great company with lots of opportunity for advancement. I’m a comfortable size 12 and not really thinking about what I’m eating, and I feel pretty comfortable with the woman I have become. My boyfriend and our two dogs and three cats are my life. However, my co-worker just had her first baby, and I’m getting twinges of baby envy, especially when I think “I’m 34 years old….”. But that’s not what’s on my mind… My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in June, has had a mastectomy and is undergoing her first (of what will eventually turn into two) series of chemotherapy treatments with a dose of radiation thrown in at the end. So far she’s holding up well, considering our beloved 94 year-old landlady passed away in May, and soon after my parents received an eviction notice, (which was later rescinded when said landlady’s brother found out about it “You stay as long as you want…I’m in no rush”) and we are sifting through 30-plus years of family life accumulations to determine what goes to the new 1 bedroom apartment, what goes to sister and me, and what gets tossed. In four months I will endure the worst Christmas of my life, filled with recent images of firefighters sifting through the burnt-out wreckage of a tragic local fire, my bald and weak mother preparing for her second surgery to remove scar tissue, and the sad, sad story of a little girl in western Massachusetts who drowns in an icy river trying to save her brother – my boyfriend (now husband) is there when they recover her body. I think it was his worse Christmas, too.

Fifteen years ago, 8/20/94:
I’m 29, work in the accounting department of a printing company that sends me to conferences twice a year. Just got my tickets for the first national meeting in…LAS VEGAS!!! I work with someone who will become one of my best friends, but I have not met my husband yet! That will happen on November 17th, on a blind date. These days my life is pretty busy – I golf (if you want to call it that…I’m really just there for the happy hour afterwards…), I am taking classes towards a degree that I never actually earn, and I adore my 9 year-old niece and 7 year-old nephew. I’m a pathetic, part-time Mary Kay Consultant with visions of pink Cadillacs floating in my head, but no ambition. But my Team Leader and my Director are two of the most amazing women I ever met, and their enthusiasm is contagious…when I’m with them. Meanwhile I give away more than I sell, realize that pink is NOT my color, but I do learn how to file an itemized tax return! I attended a first-time home buyers workshop in June, and am kinda-sorta looking at buying a house, but all I can get approved for is a “condo” …and I use that term loosely. It’s really a cheesy one bedroom apt in an apartment building.

By this time next year, though, I will make an offer on a house with my new boyfriend – it will not be accepted, and we will not accept their counter offer. A half-acre lot around the corner is on the market, and we look into buying it while my boyfriend designs “the perfect house” to suit it. At the same time, a caravan of construction equipment is busy doing the site work for a new 12-house subdivision less than ¼ mile up the street. Charlie, the builder, prices out our design and thinks he can fit it in next year, but the land proves to be too expensive for us. So Charlie shows us a few available lots in his development, but the house was designed for a different piece of land and just doesn’t quite work. Our lives change when Charlie says these words: “Why don’t you guys just buy the model home?” October 1st, we give him our deposit, and on December 1st, we close! (We’re still here!)

Twenty years ago, 8/20/89:
I’m 24 years old, working at that same printing company. In March I went to New Orleans on a business trip, and but the economy catches up to us…seriously, it was NOT the $75 lunch we had at the famed Brennan’s Restaurant, but the girl I went to New Orleans with was laid off last month, and they can’t afford to send me to the September trip, which is in St Louis. I’m depressed about that because something happens to me when I’m out in the world with groups of people that don’t know me – I can carry on a conversation – even initiate one – and I’m confident enough to tour a strange new city on my own. I even stand up in front of a group of 90 credit managers to explain how I’ve written my company’s first ever Credit and Collections Policy. But I don’t have that confidence at home or at work. Still, I’m thankful for my job, love the people I work with and am in the process of leaving a bad relationship that has haunted me for six years and twelve days. Last October I met a long-time pen pal – flew down to Staten Island, NY for a two-week visit. It was scary, taking that first step! But she and I became great friends, and since then I’ve visited her about every three weeks (airfare from Worcester to Newark was usually $69 round trip). We’ve decided to make the pilgrimage to L.A. in October of ’89 – my first time on the west coast! We pack trunkloads of clothes, spend one week in a crappy motel on La Cienega near an IHOP, the other in a much nicer one on Sunset Strip across the street from Sunset Strip Tattoo. My first California meal is at Barney’s Beanery, and the first “star” I see on Hollywood Boulevard is Lou Costello’s, and I marvel at how appropriate that was because my whole family loved Abbott & Costello. We meet Axl Rose, I fall flat on my face in front of David Lee Roth, get my picture taken with Alice Cooper, but I never do meet Nikki Sixx (crush), although we later realize they film the video to “Kick Start My Heart” while we’re there. In fact, we see the searchlights from our hotel balcony and wonder if we should walk down Sunset to check it out, but frankly, we went to Disneyland that day and were too darn tired.

I did have my picture taken with Tigger, though. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Twenty-five years ago, 8/20/1984:
I have no way of knowing this, but this time next year I will be an Auntie!
I work at a crappy, low paying retail establishment, but I’m skinny (think 1980’s skin tight size 5 jeans) and have a cool car, a silver 1973 Firebird Esprit. The cassette (tee-hee!) player doesn’t work and the trunk doesn’t open, but I feel good driving it! A week before my niece is born, my neighbor died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Sometime in 1986, I will see what I believe is his ghost walking on the side of the road. In 1987, my best friend will die from a four month battle with bulimia, where her 5’6” frame will go from 126 lbs. to 87 lbs in less than four months, and her death will destroy me, but also probably save my life. I will realize I have been kinda-sorta addicted to diet pills since high school, taking up to 6 Extra-Strength Dexatrim a day, and suffering through ridiculous fad diets and double aerobics classes whenever I can. I’ll quit a month after her death, when I experience chest pains and palpitations while exercising. I’ll gain 15 pounds over the next year, and my life will focus on my niece and new nephew. Between watching them grow up and learning to cope with the loss of a friend, I find my spirituality.

Thirty years ago, 8/20/1979:
I’m a fat 14 year old, painfully shy girl, and acne has reared it’s ugly head. My super-cool older sister researches every old wives tales and every new ginnick to try to help clear up my skin. I’m only comfortable with my extended family, my small circle of friends and the horses I started riding, every Friday afternoon and more often during the summer. Heaven to me is either at the barn or on the island where we rent cottages every summer or Sundays at Uncle Paul’s. My closest friend is my cousin, Maureen – her dad nicknames us “The Gold Dust Twins”, even though we are not twins and not golden. We’re obsessed with KISS. I have one other best friend, and two or three other good ones, but I cannot bring myself to speak in front of anyone else…unless I’m near a horse, then I’m a chatterbox! You wouldn’t know it, but I’m a pretty messed up kid. I crank call a cute guy who works at a local gas station almost daily, and in January of 1980 I will run away from home…because I have an oral report due in Earth Science and simply cannot stand up in front of the class and speak. I’m back home in a few days. Little by little, I work things out, although horses and heavy metal are my main loves. I never do go to a prom, I’m a total wallflower at parties or “hanging out”, but I lose 65 pounds my junior year in high school (’81-’82), and by the time I graduate in 1983 I am a social butterfly, traveling, partying and meeting my first real boyfriend (scroll back up to 1989 to see how THAT ends up…). I start college at Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMASS Darmouth) but I skip more classes than I show up for, and end up with a well-deserved .50 GPA. My choices in January are take everything over again or get a job. I get a job as a cashier, paying $3.35/hour. I will work in that store until 1988.

Thirty-five years ago, 8/20/1974:
I’m 9. We go on our first non-West Island vacation to visit relatives in Indiana, driving there in our blue station wagon. In a year or two, I start getting my sister’s hand-me-down records and develop a love for music. I watch the Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday night, and my favorite episode is the one about the mustang (I think it was actually called “Mustang!”). I’m into Marguerite Henry’s “Misty of Chincoteague” series, and will visit Chincoteague and Assateague, VA in a couple years. My dream is to own a horse some day. For now, I take turns riding Uncle Frances’ pet pig, Thelma, or setting up jumps in the back yard for my aging dog, Kelly. My childhood is pretty much idyllic – bike rides, swimming in the pond, a neighborhood full of kids my age, a menagerie of pets: a dog, a cat, two gerbils (that morph into eight), a guinea pig, a turtle that I found near the local pond (and will set free after keeping him for a year) and an assortment of fish. Next year I will write a story about Sammy the Turtle. My teacher, Mrs. Durgin, will write something on that paper that instills a love of writing in me.

Forty years ago, 8/20/1969:
I’m 4. I like purple things, candy and animals (especially horses!) and I fear nothing. Except hippies. My best friend, Brian, said that hippies will kidnap you, chop you up, wrap them in a box and mail them to your mother. Then I realize my sister is a hippie and Brian’s full of shit. But he’s still my best friend. At least until we get to the second grade and he starts hanging out with boys…. My extended family starts a summer tradition to going to West Island. We rent beachfront cottages and have more fun that you can imagine. We even bring our dog and cat. The cat, Snagglepuss, disappears one week, but my cousins, Peter, Michael, Bobby and John, manage to hunt him down and bring him home on our last night on the island that summer. I am eternally grateful.

Forty-five years ago, 8/20/1964:
I am, shall we say, a twinkle in someone’s eye?

So, Timeline or TMI (Too Much Information)? HA! No matter, I truly enjoyed traipsing down memory lane - the good and the bad. I'm learning, as I get older, that the difficult memories are an important part of who I am, and for that I embrace them.

The future? I'm clueless! But I'll see what I can come up with for you!


Anonymous said...

So enjoyable to read!!! Nice to know a bit about ALL of you...then and now!! ;-)

Lissaloo said...

What a great Timeline! It's good to go back, you remember a lot of the big, and little things & how they affected the rest of your life. Thanks for sharing this! :)

5thsister said...

A very poignont and thought provoking timeline. I enjoyed learning more about you!

L.B. said...

Awesome! Love the detail.

Willoughby said...

Wow, that was an incredible post!

I had no idea that my timeline post would inspire others to do the same. I couldn't be more happy about it! I think it's a wonderful way to see how far you've come.

I can't wait to see what your future timeline looks like!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

That was awesome! I keep thinking I should do one, but I'm 30, so I would be heading back into my early twenties and teen years- not exactly family-friendly reading, unfortunately.

Chicago Mom said...

Thank you for sharing your life with us - what a journey!

Gracey said...

I enjoyed this post very much and it was very nice knowing you a little better! Thanks for sharing your timeline!