Sunday, April 3, 2011

My life, in fives

Yes, yes, I know I'm about FOUR YEARS TOO LATE to pick up this meme, but it amuses me and I'm short on other blogging material.

1972: I am born. Despite being half-Asian, I start life with strawberry-blonde hair and blue eyes, which gradually change to hazel. I am reliably told that as the doctor delivered me (which took a complicated C-section) he took a quick look at me (and my Chinese mother) and said, "Dear lord, I'm glad we have a lot of witnesses for this birth."

1977: I turn five, start kindergarten, begin piano lessons. I've already been taking ballet for nearly two years. I barely remember any of this. We're living in a tiny ranch house in upstate NY that's notable primarily because of the half-acre garden that comes with it.

1982: I turn ten, start fifth grade, pick up cello lessons AND riding lessons but finally convince my mother to drop the ballet lessons. I think this is the year my mother finally gets her driver's license. My best friend is Amy, who lives a half-mile up the road from us. We're still in the tiny ranch house in upstate NY, but a lot of new houses have been built around us. I'm a honey-blond with very green hazel eyes. Everyone assumes I'm adopted.

I read like it was my job: this is the year of horse books, from Walter Farley to Marguerite Henry. I'm aging out of the young Judy Blume books but still treasure them. I've read the first 50 Nancy Drew novels. This is the summer we go to Great Britain for nearly 6 weeks and the airline loses our suitcase with all the books, so I spend the first week there reading The Jewel in the Crown Quartet (which was in my father's carry-on for some reason) until we have time to buy a few more novels. I discover a novel by Anne McCaffrey at one of the B&Bs and insist on tracking down everything else she's written.

I remember that fifth grade was one of the happiest years of my early life: I had friends, I was pretty good at the things I wanted to be good at (like school and horse-back riding), my parents seemed happy, and I was starting to develop an interest in gardening.

1987: I turn 15. We now live in Indiana and I hate it. A small group of people in the town are viciously sexist and racist, and I allow their nasty interactions with me and my family to color my opinion of the whole place. I can't wait to "get out" and to this end I'm trying to finish all my high school classes in three years.

I still take piano lessons but I don't work at it very hard: my teacher is a lot of fun but she's into Impressionists and Moderns which just don't excite me. I've had to give up cello and horse-back riding because finances are tight. I play tennis, but mostly to please my father.

I still read like it's my job. I have a huge collection of fantasy and the school library has an amazing selection of SF "juveniles" for me to check out. I do really well at school, but let's be honest: I don't have a whole lot of competition from my classmates. Most of them aren't planning to attend college.

1992: I turn 20. I start my senior year of college. My parents have divorced, nastily, and I'm barely on speaking terms with either one. I'm trying to double-major in math and physics, but catching mono in my senior fall puts my plans behind and I end up with just the math major. On the bright side, I've got an amazing group of friends, a terrific roommate, and a gorgeous boyfriend.

1997: I turn 25. I'm half-way through a graduate program in experiment physics. I'm starting to think it's a bad idea: I love the classes but independent research doesn't appeal as much as I had hoped it would. I've got a crazy crush on a guy who's got a steady girlfriend, so I'm just his Best Friend and I manage to get along OK with his girlfriend, too. I have an adorable Golden Retriever and some really good friends. I meet my husband-to-be at a party but neither of us recognizes the significance of the event.

2002: I turn 30. I'm happily married. I teach math and physics at a posh boarding school in PA (I never finished my PhD) and I get pregnant with my older son in this year. Life is crazy. I never get enough sleep and I puke a lot.

2007: I turn 35. I'm on pretty good terms with both of my parents. We've moved to CT and I feel so much happier being back in New England. I've got two adorable little boys and a great husband and, while I still don't get enough sleep, I feel like things are only looking up. I'm really developing an interest in cooking and I'm becoming closer friends with my cousin-in-law, who just moved to an hour away from us. My interest in knitting is slowly taking off. I still read a lot, but life doesn't give me much time to indulge.

And... that's it, so far!


  1. This is a fascinating mix of intimate and headline. Love it. I may pick it up, too.

  2. What a great life retrospective. I chuckled over your entering the world scene. Might have to try this, but I have a couple of more "chapters" than you.