After reading an NYT article about languishing, I started wondering, “How many years of my life have included some kind of upheaval, something big or life-changing, and how many years have been kinda normal?”
The short answer? Fewer than ten years have been normal–less than a fifth of my life. Some of those upheavals are very good things, like my sister being born, or my getting married and having a kid. But the rest has really been…a lot.
In my original version of this post, I had a year-by-year timeline and description of all the big stuff that’s happened in my life. It didn’t occur to me until hours after I posted it that, Hey dummy, you’ve already had your identity stolen once in the last year, you wanna go for more? So I restructured this post to take out the “stuff that would be useable to spoof my online security questions,” yet still leave in the meat of it intact.
The big moments of my life include all this:
- Ten dead friends (traffic accidents, boating accidents, freak medical accidents, and cancer)
- Four dead grandparents (three of cancer, one of stroke)
- Seven exes (all of them interesting people, many of them wonderful people whose quality as human beings is proved by the fact that they’re still friendly toward me)
- More than 30 moves (between schools, houses, and four entire states)
- Eleven schools (between elementary, middle, and high schools plus college)
- Six jobs (one of them so stressful I once received 1,500 hate email from around the world, in languages I don’t even speak, for a single typo that altered a ship’s arrival at port by only three minutes…and, in another unthinkable moment of sheer hell, a boss who liked me deliberately used my miscarriage as a power move during hostile in-company negotiations)
- Close calls with teen pregnancy, a boyfriend’s potential leukemia, a cult, and a serial killer
- Too many life lessons to count: going to the wrong grad school, an ex coming out of the closet, friendships lost, addressing a school board (and more than a few admin and teachers over the years) to advocate for my SPD kid and his friends in the face of crap behavior, and having to pull my kid for homeschooling
- Getting a black belt
- Too much medical stuff to count: a miscarriage, major depression, getstational diabetes, ocular melanoma, MS, Hashimoto’s, anaphylaxis twice, participating in a clinical trial four states away
- More than 30 contrast images to determine how many months I might have left to live (MRIs, CTs, etc.)
- Being told to put my affairs in order
- And then there’s the stuff we’ve all experienced, like 9/11 and 2020.
Seeing all this in one place brings up some questions: Does it make me lighter to have listed this stuff? Does it allow me to put the burdens down, while keeping the memories and the lessons? Does it make me smile to look at all this bullshit listed in one place and think, “All this, and I’m still here”?