The Story of Me

March #SOLC17 Day 19

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It’s 1970 and I’m 8 years old.  I’m in the 3rd grade and my favorite thing to do is hang out with my BFF Karen making up dances, belting out duets with our band instruments and listening to Elton John albums. Dinner is at exactly 6 pm every night.  Steak and potatoes are the usual fare.  My mom picks my dad up at the train station like clockwork at 5 pm. He unwinds with a drink in a short glass with lots of ice and a strong smell.  I stay clear of him unit we eat.  I look forward to the weekends when we get to go to the library together. I am 8 years old and my life is about to change drastically.

It’s 1973 and I’m 11 years old. I just got glasses for the first time. They’re cool because they look a little bit like stop signs. I love my 6th-grade teacher….until she tells me that I ask too many questions.  I like to make my family laugh. I learn new jokes when my sister and I take the train to visit my dad in his new studio apartment in Chicago. He is a giant man with a huge laugh living in a small apartment.   I am 11 years old and my life is about to change drastically.

It’s 1979 and I’m 17 years old. I play the first chair flute in band. I take private lessons from Mr. Kochman. My mom scrounges up the money for them because Mr. K. is like a father figure to me.  Our heat and electricity have been turned off.  My mom can’t make enough money to pay the utility bills, but she still manages to pay for what’s important. My braces are off. I wonder what my Dad would’ve thought. He told me last year on my birthday that I was more spectacular than the fireworks in the sky.  I miss him.  I am 17 years old and my life is starting to change less drastically.

It’s 1988 and I’m 26 years old.  I have my first job as a school social worker.  I get my own apartment and I am filled with guilt because I’ve left my mom home alone. She still has our dog, but I am still sad whenever I visit.  I hope this gets better, this “adult” thing.  I’m nervous in my new school district.  I take to eating lunch alone in my office, until one day a friendly face appears at my door and says, Hey!  Come eat in the lounge with us!  I don’t know it yet but I have just met my best friend for life.  I am 26 years old and my life is starting to show the results of my hard work.

It’s 2007 and I’m 44 years old. I am happily working in a wonderful school district as an administrator.  I’ve just closed on a beautiful condo with friends in the city. We’re enjoying picking out granite, hardwood, furniture and paint color, along with exploring our new neighborhood. Venturing out to new restaurants,  checking out street fairs and walking along the lake are on tap for each weekend.  I am 44 years old and my life is about to change drastically.

It’s 2o17 and I’m 54 years old. I wake up each morning grateful for the new day.  There is also a tinge of fear and uncertainty, wondering if the good things in my life are permanent or only temporary.  Good health.  No longer do I take it for granted.  I sit on my bed, feet sprawled out in front of me, computer in my lap, gazing out a beautiful picturesque window thinking about the stunning city in which I now live.   l am 54 years old and I wonder…..what does life have in store for me next?

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28 thoughts on “The Story of Me

  1. Wow! I just learned so much about you. I thought I knew a lot but today showed me so much more. I have learned not to take my health for granted any more, either. Life has a lot in store for you. Buckle up and hold on tight – your life will change again – all for the better.

  2. I love reading the timeline of your life. I’d like to try writing a similar piece. You included such specifics in your memories that it took me there each time. We don’t know what awaits, but we are survivors.

  3. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY crafted slice of your life. I found myself in tears over the changes – drastic and not so drastic – over the course of your life – so far. You are certainly a survivor and it appears very grateful for what you have worked for and earned. I love the format…LOVE

  4. I really loved your post; it fell as though I was reading my own life. We are only a year apart in age, so generational, there are so many similarities. The memory that tugs at my heart is the the unpaid utility bill… that happened in or home as well. My mom suffered from depression and alcoholism; thankfully she reached sobriety, and we moved through it. There is a moment in our lives when we realize we need to take care of ourselves. As dark as those moments were, it looks like you have emerged gracefully. As a writer, your use of voice in “becoming” the age – both past and present, carried your narrative forward. Thanks for taking the risk to share your authenticity.

  5. Wow!! This is slice is powerful and inspiring. As Chris said, your enthusiasm for adventure shines through, and whatever life holds, you will embrace it and be ready for the ride. You are an inspiration.

  6. I agree, this is powerful! I like the perspective you have taken in this writing. Change is a part of everyone’s life, and we all handle changes differently. It sounds as though you handle them well! ~JudyK

  7. Such a well crafted piece. I found myself reading too fast at first and then realizing that you were giving me clues and I needed to return to find out why your life was changing. A clever way to reveal difficult times. I also enjoyed your age at all the years as I am just one year younger than you. I tell myself that it is great to be in my 50s. But it is also scary and I ask that same last question that you do all the time. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself today in a very well structured piece of writing!

  8. The between the lines stuff is really compelling–figuring out what those huge changes actually were. Fascinating way of sharing your life with us!

  9. The structure of this piece is fantastic! I kept wanting to know more. This glimpse into you with the theme of change is very catching for the reader. I am glad that you have seen the rewards of all your hard work and hope that as life continues to change, it won’t be those drastic ones you grew up experiencing.

  10. This is such a great slice! We feel the anticipation, the fear, the excitement in that last sentence of each paragraph. A powerful way of writing and a powerful way to tell a story! Thank you for allowing us into your slice! 🙂

  11. I read this piece this morning but didn’t have time to leave a thoughtful comment so I wanted to come back. I was going to tell you how much I loved it. It’s so personal and real. I love the format – how on earth did you ever think to craft it like this? I’m so curious what the original seed idea was that spurred you to write this. This is another piece were you told us just the perfect amount of detail – enough to get a sense of the story but not so much that we aren’t left to make our own inferences and find our own meaning. It’s really well written.

    But now I don’t want to say any of that because I just read through the comments and I’m blown away by how connected this community is to one another and how our writing – no, your writing – brings people together. It’s just amazing, isn’t it?

    1. Yes, Dana, it is truly mind blowing how our writing community is connected! I am so grateful to be included in it. That’s all I can say. Oh, and the seed for my slice came from a song I heard Friday night. I was at City Winery and the song mentioned a year in it. As soon as the intermission between the warm-up and the main act came I quickly wrote out the structure for my slice on my phone! Everyone was wondering what I was doing…I guess I wasn’t being very social….but I had to get it down! I re-visited it again on Saturday and then again on Sunday. It was both hard and easy to write. Ya know?

  12. This is fantastic – I’ve had it up on my desktop as an open tab for a two days now and keep coming back to reread it. Wonderfully written, insightful, with a fabulous structure.

  13. Such a beautiful slice. Your life has certainly taken some major turns, but it sounds like you’re doing pretty well right now. I hope you write more on each of these snippets!

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